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Challenge accepted – Europe

We need to talk openly about mental health

Monthly Meeting with #IKBENOPEN

What can be done to improve mental health? In which social structures does this issue need to be strengthened more? These and other questions were discussed by young people from Europe with Mert Unveren and Thomas Roorda from #IKBENOPEN from the Netherlands at the Monthly Meeting of Challenge accepted - Europe on 16 March.

23.03.2022 / Sabine Humpf

After a welcome and a warm-up, #IKBENOPEN introduced itself to the young people. Thomas and Mert showed the round their vision: We need to teach children and young people from the beginning that it is important to invest in mental health. Openness contributes to the reduction and prevention of mental health problems. The aim of #IKBENOPEN is to create more understanding, acceptance and equal opportunities for a mentally healthier life in conversations. The mission of #IKBENOPEN is to work together with partner organisations in the Netherlands to make it easier for people with mental illness to find mental health services. The goal of #IKBENOPEN is to provide people with earlier, better and faster mental health care. The aim of #IKBENOPEN is to create an open space where findings from therapy can be put into practice and people can regain confidence in their talents and strengths. Mental health is to be made a topic of conversation in which psychological complaints can be openly discussed - freely according to the motto "Together we turn a complaint into a strength".

Paying attention to body and psyche

The discussion then turned to the differences, positive aspects and challenges in relation to the topic of "Mental Health" in the respective European countries. The young people from Lithuania, Norway and Germany found that the health systems and the way the topic is dealt with are very different. The participants from Norway, for example, described that their country deals more openly with the topic of mental health. Anne from Germany criticised that the approach to mental health in German society is rather closed and that there is no real "place" for the topic. All participating young people think that the school system and the university should pay more attention to mental health. For example, there could be a subject that deals with mental health. In the German universities, Mandy and Pinar from Germany criticise that there are offers of help, but in some courses of study, where the topic is very important for later work, it is treated much too theoretically and abstractly. In teacher training courses, there are psychology courses, but recognising and dealing with students with physical illnesses is not taught.

The average 40-hour week in Germany should also be reduced to fewer hours in order to promote health and contribute to a better work-life balance.

Towards the end of the event, participants focused on their own mental health and discussed how they deal with stress and what they can do to switch off and relax. It is important to take care of your body and mind and pay attention to warning signs of overwork. In addition to taking time for yourself, everyone agreed that you should take time out from social media, smartphones and online streaming services every now and then. We thank #IKBENOPEN for the insight into their work and wish them every success in their mission.

[Translate to Englisch:]
On Challenge accepted – Europe

Which issues are relevant for young people in Europe? What could a platform look like that enables young people in Europe to exchange views on issues and challenges relevant to young people?

Sabine Humpf
Project Officer
Project Coordinator
Challenge accepted – Europe