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H+ talks 3

#H+Talks je serija tekstova sudionika razmjene mladih “Health+ talks” o svom iskustvu i dojmovima s razmjene. U ovom članku donosimo vam priču hrvatske sudionice projekta, Ivane. Enjoy 🙂

Not so long ago, I consciously decided to put my efforts into becoming a part of something that will have empowering impact on young people all around the Europe. With so many important topics that need better understanding and taking action, I also wondered where to start. What is the subject of the dialogue that is really needed between today’s youth and that will ignite the fire of positive change? Well, the answer introduced itself quite easily.
As social networks grabbed one of the main spots in youth’s lives and big smiles with happy captions became something that most of young people are bombed by every day, happiness became the imperative for the normal and well-functioning living. On the other hand, any unpleasant emotion became pushed out from this idyllic cyber space as unacceptable, or in the best way unwelcome. Also, endless sources are suggesting recipes on how to become the person that can fit „happy adjectives“ into self-description, but are also lacking the desirable outcome since they don’t offer some vital ingredients – better understanding of self and true, real-time human connections. Ingredients that are crucial for maintaining too rarely talked-about mental health.


In the world as I have just described it, or the world that you maybe recognized as your own, it is easy to forget how normal it is to feel the full range of emotions and how every emotion exists for it’s purpose in the process of survival (in other words, living). But, can we forget something that nobody has ever thought us? Throughout our formal and informal education, has anybody ever talked to us about the vital part of emotions in our lives, their interconnections with our thoughts and bodies, or ways of dealing with them once they become too much to handle? Well, in the big majority of cases, not really.
For nine days, I had the privilege to share the living space, thoughts and feelings with 35 extraordinary young people that gathered from different parts of Europe with the aim of tackling this issue. We all cooperated with the intention of getting to know each other and ourselves better in order to become more gentle and mindful travelers of the road that is personal growth. Through meaningful group work we equipped ourselves with knowledge, attitudes and competencies that will help us become more aware of the fact that the process counts more than the mere destination. Every new day brought a little more awareness and little more determination into the treasure chest that we had opened with the first intention of exploring the wider picture of health, the chest that is open and being filled to this day.


Few months have already passed since the days of our big shared experience. The impressions are now nicely integrated into our memory networks and the impact of our participation is even clearer than it was while we were fully engaged in everyday activities and interactions. The awareness of the importance of mental health became even more obvious and I believe we are now more confident in the intention of taking care of it, while sharing the knowledge that is often pushed aside or forgotten.
What makes me strongly believe in that are the initiatives those amazing young people started in their own communities once they came back home. They collected new insights and gained the courage to help their communities grow through educating the youth about the meaning and importance of mental health. I am proud of and grateful for every young person that brings better change for this important subject that is often not that easy to talk about.


To conclude, I am thinking about the glass with which we cannot water anything if it is empty. I am thankful for being a part of the experience that helped me learn how to keep the glass full and use it’s content for nourishment of everything good that comes my way. New relationships from which amazing things may grow, as well.