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Why 11-13 years old students?

Adolescence is a critical period which lays the foundation for health and well-being across the life course. Adolescents undergo physical, psychological, and social growth which shape their capabilities and skills necessary to sustain a functional and fulfilling adult life.3 They face a variety of challenges, including increased independence, peer pressure, exposure to social media, risky behaviour, and risk for the onset of mental health problems with half of all cases emerging prior to age 14. Our program aims to equip students with skills which are necessary to face these challenges, enhance their resilience, and facilitate early detection and intervention for mental illnesses.

Why in schools?

School based programs focused on mental health literacy and social and emotional learning delivered across elementary, middle, and high schools have proven results in promoting the mental health of students through reducing risk factors and emotional and behavioural problems in children and adolescents.1, 2

Programs addressing mental health and well-being are beneficial to both students and teachers. Teachers can benefit through:

  • developing and managing nurturing relationships with their students
  • improving skills related to managing behavior in their classrooms
  • regulating their own emotions, and adopting self-care to prevent burnout

How can I get involved in the project?

Currently, the program is being implemented in Czechia and Georgia by selected schools which will result in an evaluation of effectiveness. Once the program shows effectiveness, it will be more widely available in 2023/2024.

Will the program also be available for high schools?

The program is catered to the developmental needs of 11-13 year old students. Given that 50 % of mental illnesses first manifest themselves by the age of 14, we decided to focus on increasing mental literacy in the age group that precedes it.

Have you also dealt with the mental health of teachers and principals?

Teaching can be a demanding and stressful job. On My Mind teacher training is designed to equip teachers with knowledge and skills necessary to improve mental well-being in the classroom, including their own. The teacher is an important person who sets the students an example of how to take care of their mental well-being, and through our approach we focus on ensuring that teachers learn self-care strategies.