MENTAL HEALTH LITERACY
“Mental Health Literacy” sessions
The “Mental Health Literacy” project debuted in 2018 in Cluj-Napoca with “Mental Health Literacy” sessions. So far, over 1000 students from Cluj-Napoca have taken part in our sessions. Within them, the topics covered are adolescence, mental health, emotions, anxiety, depression and resilience.
Adolescence comes with definitory changes for the transition between childhood and adult life. Without the necessary support of family and the community, the challenges that adolescents face may be experienced as overwhelming.
As we know, maturing is a challenging process for adolescents, but one that can be naturally and confidently bridged, provided that they are correctly informed and guided towards the support that they need.
The primary objective of these sessions is increasing the amount of knowledge and the degree of awareness regarding mental health within the youth community in Cluj and beyond.
- We view adolescence through the perspective of the changes that appear and challenges specific to this period.
- We offer information about mental health and the factors that influence it.
- We openly discuss and learn about emotions, feelings and the role they play in our lives.
- We encourage the cultivation of resilience through the awareness of available internal and external resources.
An example of an emotion that we closely focus on in our sessions is sadness. Oftentimes, sadness is viewed as that emotion to be avoided or shielded from. For this reason, we discuss the difference between sadness and depression. We debate and actively identify the healthy and unhealthy components of sadness, while trying to gain a more comprehensive perspective on this emotion.
Information handouts for adolescents
Another very important component of this project is represented by information handouts for adolescents.
Through our information handouts for adolescents, we aim at casting light upon relevant information on six of the most frequently addressed topics related to mental health: ADHD, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, depression, specific phobias, anger, and frustration management.
The information is delivered in a simple, evidence-based manner, and simultaneously friendly and accessible for adolescents, to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and to increase awareness of the importance of mental health.
Each handout contains information structured as follows:
- The importance of mental health and the functioning of the brain
- Behaviors, thoughts, and physical states
- Causes and risk factors
- Dealing with stigma
- Strategies and recommendations (for dealing with symptoms) specific for different types of mental illness
The handouts were created and edited by the psychologists of the Inocenți team in Cluj-Napoca, together with the Department of Psychology of the Babeș-Bolyai University and the resident doctors from the Pediatric Psychiatry and Addiction Clinic in Cluj-Napoca, under the supervision of Prof. dr. Viorel Lupu.
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