Mental Health matters
Anxiety, stress, burn-out, eating disorders and depression are in the headlines almost every day. Wellbeing and mental health has been one of the topics we have paid attention to, since mental health issues are on the rise in the Western world.
Therefore, four students from DNS – The Necessary Teacher Training College participated in an Erasmus + Youth Exchange to get more knowledgeable about the mental health topic and to gain a set of skills on how to spread awareness to their peers at the college as well is in a work place context.
Here is an account of their participation in the “Health+ Talks” project.
by Gelmina, Dovilė, Gabry and Elora
Health+ Talks in Croatia
During an intensive week 27 October – 4 November 2018 we participated in the Erasmus + Youth Exchange in Nova Gradiška (Croatia). Here, people gathered for “Health+ Talks” project. The main aim of the project was to raise awareness of the importance of mental health in the overall frame of health.
This project was quite special as it gathered people of different ages and backgrounds from six partner organizations: Association for Promotion of Active Participation Studio B (Croatia), TNB – TidsNätverket i Bergsjön (Sweden), the youth organization of Rietavas municipality “Progresas” (Lithuania), Ticket2Europe (Spain), INPLANET (Greece) and our college Det Nødvendige Seminarium (Denmark).
End the stigma
Around 50 percent of human well-being is determined by lifestyle habits such as physical activity, quality sleep and correct nutrition. Most people are aware of these and treat them as essential prerequisites for a quality life. In daily life, we take care of our basic hygiene, we train to look fit and healthy and we think about what we eat.
However, mental health – and the ability to manage it – is often not talked about. How do we deal with stress, anxiety and obsessions? Mental health does matter, it is invisible but it is important, but in many cultures, there is a stigma surrounding mental health matters. It is something you are supposed to deal with on your own, and not share with others. Why is this, and how can we end this stigma?
As participants in the project, we attended different workshops such as meditation exercises, teamwork activities, developing an understanding about vulnerability, active listening etc. We gained important new skills on how to spread awareness about mental health and also learned about the importance of a teamwork.
In general, all project activities were held for both personal development and a deeper understanding of mental health from a personal perspective. At the same time, we acquired tools for sharing this knowledge with people in local communities. Together we can spread knowledge, learn new things from each other and receive or show support.
Knowledge is power and it is more powerful when it is shared
As future teachers, we can give tools (knowledge) in order to guide our students. However, the responsibility upon mental health is on each of us. It is important to take care of your health in a holistic way, not excluding any part of it. We need to communicate this to our future students. We are influenced by each other.
As future teachers, we understand how important it is to talk about mental health with our future students. We need to have a straight forward and open discussion about mental health matters, and how we, as individuals, as groups of people – and as a society can deal with it.
This awareness and change depends on ME and YOU. Because mental health matters.
Passing on the knowledge to our peers at the college
Mental health and the ability to manage it, is often not talked about.