#H+Talks je serija tekstova sudionika razmjene mladih “Health+ talks” o svom iskustvu i dojmovima s razmjene. Tekstove objavljujemo na engleskom jeziku. U ovom članku donosimo vam Lukinu priču. Luka je jedan od idejnih začetnika ovog projekta.
How amazing is it to feel happy? I would say we all love that feeling and it’s great sharing this with others, isn’t it? Unfortunately, the same doesn’t really apply when we feel sad or upset – and these emotions are equally real and present. World nowadays provides us with stressful environment in which people (especially youth) feel discouraged when it comes to sharing with others why they are anxious, worried, lost or frustrated. In addition, dealing with such struggles is perceived as a personal problem which person should solve on his/her own, because looking for professional help makes you “weak” and easily stigmatized. With that in mind, results from recent world health reports (such as that one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lives – WHO, October 2018) are not surprising. As I tend to believe I am not a person that sits and waits for solutions, I decided to react to this and develop a project together with friends and volunteers from Studio B. In the period of February-April we worked hard to understand what is missing in our communities (with special emphasis on youth) and together with partners from 5 countries we developed “Health+ Talks” proposal – project that aims to raise awareness about importance of mental health in the overall frame of health. As this is not common project topic in Erasmus+ circles, I was very happy to find out there are actually young people and organizations in Europe ready to collaborate on the proposal with such sensitive, but extremely valuable topic. Back in July when we got to know that it was approved, I was over the moon! And in the blink of an eye, I was standing in Nova Gradiška on October 27 waiting for participants to arrive.
Our youth exchange activity lasted for eight days and it gathered group of 36 youngsters of very diverse background, but what kept us together was a common goal – to learn from each other’s about mental health. I can say it was a week of excitement, happiness, joy, content, appreciation, fear, surprise, frustration. I believe we created a safe environment where each of us could feel free to “feel” as they do/want and not to be ashamed to express it. With different backgrounds come various points of view and sets of values, which sometimes led to conflicts, but many times more they led to amazing outputs, both tangible and intangible. Through activities based on non-formal methodology we were discovering world of health in general and mental health in particular, we experienced how it is to be vulnerable and mindful, what makes us effective communicators, how to find solutions through forum theatre and express our creative minds through mandala drawings and videos that promoted importance of mental health. During mid-term and final evaluations, I realized that we were on the right track with achieving our project objectives. I am very grateful for this experience because I learned several new things about this topic, I got to know many great youngsters with whom I share vision in this field, I got more aware about importance of mindfulness and tolerance in intercultural environment and I worked on my project management skills. Thanks to my friends and volunteers from Studio B, participants from 5 partner organizations and Croatian NA for this learning opportunity. I hope this project will be a starting point of something big and that by active involvement in our communities we contributed to general well-being of at least one person. 🙂