Norveški finančni mehanizem in Finančni mehanizem EGP 2014–2021
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Expert conference addressing the mental health of young individuals

22 March 2024 – On Tuesday 19th March 2024 an expert conference was held in Maribor, hosted by the project partners of the TRIALOG project, which is co-financed by the Norway Grants. The event moderated by the TRIALOG project leader Tjaša Rupar from the Gender Equality Research Institute Maribor (IPES) addressed the topic of youth and mental health. The moderator especially shed light on the question, “How can I contribute?”

The expert conference was dedicated to the conclusion of the TRIALOG project, which addresses the issues and challenges of young people in the context of the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Podravska region. The project focuses on the absence of social contacts, the lower social inclusion of young people, the increase of domestic violence (arguments, disagreements, physical, psychological and economic violence), the rise in the level of peer violence, including online violence and youth vandalism, the lack of support services for young people in the Podravska region, and the deterioration in young people’s self-esteem as a result of increased exposure to social media and posts by peers, influencers and strangers, which portray idealised images of their lives and bodies.

People are sitting in a room looking at a presentation on a screen where a man is giving a speech.

Dr. Agata Zupančič from the Ministry of Health opened the event with a keynote speech. She shared a few words introducing all the activities of the Ministry of Health related to mental health.

The conference was divided into three parts. In the first part, dr. Andrej Naterer, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Arts, University of Maribor, presented the findings of the Youth Survey (Mladina 2020). Among other things, he pointed to ways of coping with stress that used to be efficient, such as music and sports, but no longer work today because society is too competitive and, as a result, such activities have the opposite effect and cause additional stress.

At the second part a panel discussion was held, including Kaja Stropnik Eferl specialist in clinical psychology from the Mental Health Centre for Children and Adolescents Maribor, Associate Prof. dr. Rudi Klanjšek from the Faculty of Arts, University of Maribor and Anja Durjava from the National Institute of Public Health. The panellists discussed the mental health problems of adolescents, and the discussion was further deepened with additional questions by the moderator Tjaša Rupar (IPES).

The conference ended with a World Café discussion, where participants worked in groups to address pre-defined questions related to mental health of young individuals.

The audience looks towards the podium where the four speakers are seated and talking.

The TRIALOG project is co-created by the project promoter the Gender Equality Research Institute Maribor (IPES) and project partners the Municipality of Ptuj, the University of Adult Education Ormož, the Center for Free Time Activities Ptuj, the Youth Council of the Municipality of Ptuj and Avisensa, the Institute for Psychology, Counselling and Education.

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