Social inclusion, Youth participation and empowerment

Let’s talk about it.

Setting up a network of safe places where youth will reconnect with peers, be able to talk to psychology students, reestablish social interactions and relearn how to function in social settings.

Creators

Who is behind this?

ŠOUM 1959

Student organization of University of Maribor

https://www.soum.si/

Slovenia

Who is joining forces?

Student club Ormož

https://klub-kos.si/

Slovenia


Marenberg Youth Local Council (MMLS)

https://www.facebook.com/marenberskimladinski.lokalnisvet/

Slovenia


KURS student club

http://kurs.si/

Slovenia


Idea

Idea pitch

We want to reestablish social interactions among high school and college students in Podravje region considering all the safety measures regarding COVID-19. A group of volunteers who study psychology will perform face to face conversations, group discussions and other social activities that are helping improve mental health of the youth. Together with professional psychological counseling we want to create safe environment for a holistic approach to reducing the mental distress of youth.

Where will your project idea take place?

Podravska and other regions where most of University of Maribor and high school students come from.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The youth have in the past year lost the ability to socialize with peers and colleagues at their faculty, high school and in their private life in general due to Covid-19 restrictions. All lectures and exams have been executed online. Students are also not allowed to live in student dormitories, which resulted in plenty of students having to move back to their rural home towns and back in with their parents. Because of government imposed restrictions it is often even forbidden to travel from one statistical region to another, which further restricts students' abilities to interact with one another, face to face. The absence of social interactions had a great negative impact on students in this region, which was proven by a study done by the National Institute of Public Health in Slovenia.

Who are you doing it for?

We are doing this for all of the youth who feel the need to talk about their problems and cannot find professional help because of high expenses and long waiting periods. A lot of them are experiencing anxiety and distress but others just want to reconnect and start socializing in a neutral environment. All of those students need support and someone who would listen. And that’s something we want to provide them.

How do you plan to get there?

1. We'll create a safe environment by looking for volunteers among psychology students and professionals.

2. Establishing the network of partners who will help us promote our project and if necessary, invite even more possible partners.

3. Finding appropriate places where workshops will be held and adjust them according to the restrictions concerning COVID-19, but also make a friendly and private space where students will feel relaxed and welcome.

4. Establish an anonymous system for signing into the workshops.

5. Execute meetings all over the regions.

6. Help with re-socializing the youth and offer further advice and counseling to those who might need it.

We are planning to achieve that by working with professionals, volunteers and other institutions involved, who have a multitude of experiences in the field. We believe that with their proper knowledge and our means and resources we will achieve the result we are aiming for.

What are the expected results?

At the end of the project phase, we will have a network of safe places for the youth to interact with one another, face to face, across the regions where most of them live. Overall, the college and high school student's population will not feel as isolated and lonely as before, during the Covid-19 restrictions. Students will be able to discuss whatever is on their minds with psychology students. After they have visited our safe points, they will share their experience with friends and thus create a ripple effect. Not to mention, the reason for providing this secure environment is also to prevent the social isolation in the future, considering that the entire situation with Covid-19 has and also will have the impact on the youth altogether.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

Our main goal is to create an environment for the youth who feel isolated and need genuine social interactions. Especially because of the stigma that still prevails among Slovenes that psychological counseling is something to be ashamed of. We want to make sure that participants know that the conversations will be private and with someone trained for analytical listening without prejudice and mockery. It is important for us that participants get a sense that each issue or topic of conversation is appropriate for our project, that is, no problem is less important than the other. Furthermore, with providing this possibility eventually we could start with the process of diminishing this stigma of visiting psychologists and talking about our mental health.

Why is this idea important to you?

ŠOUM is a professional community of students. Its main objective is to take care of students' extracurricular activities and conduct student policy in the field of education, social and economic status and international cooperation. The department in charge of this project is the Department for social issues, which has in the past also organized numerous socially involved projects and events such as student work brigades, blood donation events etc. One of their most important and popular projects is free psychological counseling for students in need. The ever-increasing interest in this project was the reason to start thinking on a broader level and start hatching a concept for this kind of project that is Let’s talk about it.

€ 39200,-

Total budget

€ 33500,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Staff , administration, project management, experts :18.000,00 €
Rentals : 7.900,00 €
Volunteer education: 2.800,00 €
Equipment : 1.900,00 €
Social media and offline promotion : 3.800,00 €
Travel expenses : 3.500,00 €
Web page : 1.300,00 €

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We will be verry happy to receive any feedback, ideas, suggestions, initiatives that would help us further improve our project and implement it into reality.

Team

ŠOUM

Idea created on April 26, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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