Civic Participation to respond to Mental health across European student populations

The European Students’ Union (ESU) is currently working on a project “Social Inclusion Through Participation and Democracy – promoting active citizenship in the European student movement” supported by the European Youth Foundation (EYF) of the Council of Europe.

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The Vice-President of Lithuanian National Union of Students Viktorija Žilinskaitė, together with other 29 participants from European countries, who are working on psychology, students’ representation and health care, was participating in the third training, entitled “Civic Participation to respond to Mental health across European student populations”.

The training took place between the 6th and the 9th of December in Riga, Latvia. The session mainly focused on these topics:

-Learning about the mental health characteristics among student’s population in Europe;
-Highlighting the key role that National Unions of Student’s play in the area of prevention programs, interventions and promoting the importance of mental well-being;
-Offering guidelines and tools on how to ensure and lobby for access to mental health services;
-Sharing good practices among different student’s unions in the area of mental health projects/initiatives/campaigns;
-Gathering ideas and creating one united campaign in the area of mental health among students.

Two main sessions that took place during the training – “My local reality” and “Student-led campaigns: examples of good practices”.

During the session “My local reality” mental health services and the overall situation related to the mental health was presented in terms of mental health services provided in HEI, public health care clinics, and hospitals in Lithuania. Information was obtained from researches performed by Lithuanian National Union of Student’s on “Psychological state of Student’s and availability of assistance” on 2018 and research of Social dimension in higher education accomplished at the end of 2017.

On session “Student-led campaigns: examples of good practices” were presented two projects: “Think Positive” and “RE:CHARGE”.

“Think Positive” is a students’ mental health project at National Union of Students in Scotland (NUS Scotland), funded by the Scottish Government.

Union of Students in Ireland (USI) also made a campaign, called “RE:CHARGE”.  The app is available on the App Store and is called +connections.

European Federation of Psychology Students’ Associations (EFPSA) campaign was also presented, which consists of 33 European psychology students’ associations, each formally acknowledged as Member Organizations in a federation.

Viktorija told that she is looking forward to discussing with local unions the possibility to develop Student-led Mental Health campaign in Lithuania and collaboration in submitting a joint project to the Council of Europe. “The project, which will unite student’s unions all across Europe to make positive changes by creating an annual work plan for correct Mental Health problems and care awareness and priority for our Government”.

 

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