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The idea behind the "HealthyMe" project

The number of young people with mental disorders has grown significantly in recent years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened the situation, according to OECD 2021 research. According to WHO data for the same year, every seventh young person aged 10-19 years suffers from a mental disorder, which represents 13% of the global percentage of diseases in this age group. The promotion of mental and sexual health, sport, physical activity and healthy life, but also the promotion of cooperation between schools, NGOs, health professionals and sports organizations are listed in the objectives arising from the EU Youth Strategy.

Emotional problems are also common among adolescents. Anxiety (which includes panic or excessive worry) is more common in older than younger adolescents. It is estimated that 3.6% of 10-14 year olds and 4.6% of 15-19 year olds experience an anxiety disorder. It is also estimated that depression occurs in 1.1% of adolescents aged 10-14 and 2.8% of 15-19 year olds according to WHO data. Anxiety and depressive disorders can profoundly affect school attendance and school work. Social withdrawal can worsen isolation and loneliness. Depression can lead to suicide.

Adolescence is a crucial period for developing social and emotional habits important for good mental well-being. Being a mentally healthy young person requires practicing: a healthy sleep pattern; regular exercise; develop coping and problem-solving skills, improve communication skills and learn how to manage emotions. But apart from that, the supporting environment for young people is the family, the school and the wider community.

The educational system in primary schools in North Macedonia is defined and regulated by the Law on Primary Education and the concept of nine-year primary education. The mission of this subsystem is to raise, educate and guide young children. On the other hand, the system from which the current teachers were educated was a system that was not very empathetic and did not understand the real challenges that young people face today in the present. Now, in the process of education, it has become necessary for teachers to understand that their work in education is not only to impart knowledge, but also to develop their capacity to support the mental health of children.

Therefore, the project HealthyME! focuses on building the capacities of young people and teachers in order to support the mental well-being of young people and to develop mutual trust in solving problems. HealthyME! in a way, it represents a bridge between schools and health professionals, on the topic of mental health, because it helps in the exchange of knowledge and skills and addresses the real needs of young students. This project really contributes to improving the well-being of young people and their inclusion in society.

HealthyME! financial is supported from EU project: "Technical assistance for improving the enabling environment for Civil Society Organizations in the Republic of North Macedonia", with Identification Number: EuropeAid/140131/DH/SER/MK implemented by the CPM Consulting International

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