More than 30 youngsters from all over Croatia participated in a five-day event which marked the launch of the national Are you OK? campaign.
The goal of the campaign is to lift off the mental health stigma and to encourage young people to take charge of their mental health and seek help when experiencing mental health issues. “We also wanted to offer young people an opportunity to participate in fun summer activities which will help them take their minds off difficult current events and spend some quality time with their peers after the lockdown.” – said Tamara Tokić, the Status M YMI project coordinator.
For this purpose, Status M partnered up with Outward Bound Croatia to organize a five-day outdoor programme in the Lika region which provided the participants with an exciting and challenging opportunity for open-air experiential learning and digital detox. During the day young people participated in diverse activities, from hiking, rock-climbing to abseiling and cave-exploring, along with overnight stays in nature.
Overall, the programme was geared towards the development of communication skills, teamwork, leadership and empathy. However, the activities also included workshops and conversation circles which focused on the topic of mental health. The participants had the opportunity to explore and discuss the challenges they face when talking about mental health, the implications of gender on mental health and to share their experiences during the difficult times of isolation and uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic. “I realized how important it is to be able to talk to someone about what’s bothering you. Otherwise, you just bottle everything up and then, after a while, things might explode. This is super difficult for guys because everyone expects you to be tough all the time.” – said one of the participants. This reflects the experiences of many young people who participated in the programme who said that it opened their eyes to the importance of mental health preservation.
Status M has mental health of young people as a priority and this programme is only the introduction to the Are you OK? campaign with wide-ranging activities targeting young people starting this autumn.
The activity was implemented by Status M within the framework of the Young Men Initiative II – The Men and Boys as Partners in Promoting Gender Equality and prevention of Youth Extremism and Violence in the Balkans project, supported by CARE International Balkans, Austrian Development Cooperation and Oak Foundation