C.I.V.A X STATES OF MIND : Mental Wellness in Schools
Mental wellbeing amongst adolescents is an issue which needs serious attention and new thinking. Our project starts with the young person – what issues they feel are most important, what ideas they have for addressing those issues, then helping them turn their ideas into a project which they then set about implementing.
There is a crisis in adolescent mental health with issues of unhappiness, stress, depression, self-harming and suicide, substance abuse, physical and sexual abuse, bullying, sexual identity most of which are at record levels. The professional mental health services do not have the resources to cope, nor is this likely to become significantly better funded.
Our initiative focuses on adolescent mental health, exploring what young people can do for themselves and with their peers and in their families, and what services and support they themselves can devise, all based on promoting wellness and avoiding or distracting from illness rather than dealing with things after they have gone wrong. This focus means that the project is inclusive; it targets all young people and not just those who are ill.
Our project has five phases:
• Inspiration, via a bank of around 25 experts, social entrepreneurs, professionals and psychiatrists who will be available to give talks or “adopt” projects.
• Preparation, helping young people come up with ideas and shape their projects.
• Implementation, where projects are taken forward and given support as needed.
• Sharing and exchange via the network of 6 schools and youth organisations in the programme.
• Spreading, by producing the working model and materials for others to adopt, and by building a cohort of young activists who have done it and who can then encourage others.
Michael Norton, C.I.V.A