Name of the activity: Mental Health Lectures for Middle and High School Students

Country/NMO: Estonia (EstMSA)

Program: Mental Health

Type of the activity: Education. Education on health issues for specific societal groups, either in the form of projects (set of tasks for a certain group over a fixed period of time), events (something notable that happens) or conferences (form meeting about ideas related to a particular topic, usually over several days).

General description:

In Estonia, suicide is a leading death cause in the age of 15-29 and it is estimated that more than half of people who suffer from depression do not receive appropriate help.

The mental health lectures increase awareness of mental disorders among middle-high school students. The project teaches students how to talk about mental health, how to search for help and to take care of their own mental health.

We aim to reach at least 1000 students yearly. Our objective is that at least 80% of students participating report better knowledge of mental disorders and searching for help in feedback forms.

We have a training for lecturers yearly for learning about different disorders, exam-related stress, psychoactive substances, performance skills and interactive methods. Every group of lecturers performs a sample lecture to experienced lecturers in order to ensure the quality of all lectures. The lectures are held during lessons for 75-90 minutes and are designed for 25-30 students at a time.

Focus area:

Mental Health advocacy and public awareness

Problem statement:

In Estonia, suicide is a leading cause of death in the age of 15-29. According to WHO most people who commit suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder. An estimated 60 000 – 70 000 people suffer from depression and about 45 000 do not receive appropriate help. The mental health lectures increase awareness of mental disorders among middle-high school students. The project aims to teach students how to talk about mental health, how to search for help and to take care of their own mental health.

Target groups:

Other Students, Children, Youth

Beneficiaries:

General population, Medical students, All people who require mental health services

Objectives and indicators of success:

1. Holding at least 35 mental health lectures for 1000 middle or high school students to reach as many students as possible each year.

– Training of at least 30 mental health lecturers each year who will hold a sample lecture before actively holding lectures in schools

– Choosing a coordinator for lectures who will arrange mental health lectures in schools and find lecturers for said lectures

2. At least 80% of recipients will report increased knowledge of the essence and prevalence of mental disorders and searching for help.

– Holding 1,5 hour lectures about mental health disorders and searching for help

– Actively involving students in lectures with interactive tasks and discussions

3. Holding more lectures outside of the City of Tartu

– Holding at least ¼ lectures outside of the City of Tartu

Methodology:

1.Training of lecturers

Each year we hold a 2-day training with around 70 people taking part. The training includes learning about mental health disorders – depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, phobias, panic disorder, eating disorders, suicide and self-harm, exam-related stress, psychoactive substances, schizophrenia, searching for help, the stigma surrounding mental health and talking about mental health. There is a short course on public performance skills and interactive methods.

2. Sample lecture

Each lecturer or a group of lecturers prepare their own presentation for their future lectures. In order to assure the quality of each presentation, experienced lecturers listen to a sample lecture of each group and give suggestions to improve.

3. Lectures held in schools

The lectures are held during school lessons for 75-90 minutes for 25-30 students at a time. A lecture covers the topics mentioned above and the lecturers hold discussions and give small tasks to the students.

Plans for evaluation:

1. Holding a mental health lecture for at least 1000 middle or high school students each year while 80% of the participants reports increased knowledge of the essence and prevalence of mental health disorders and ways of searching for help and treatment.

2. Training at least 30 new lecturers each year while 80% of the newly trained lecturers report increased knowledge of the essence and prevalence of mental health disorders and ways of searching for help and treatment.