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Thank you for a great Nordic Youth Summit on Mental Health!

For three days, young people from 13 Nordic mental health organizations were gathered in Copenhagen. Knowledge sharing, networking, political action and united messaging were the topics that dominated the summit – and all the participants had a chance to voice their opinion and represent the youth of their respective countries.

What problems are we facing – and how do we solve them? 

The participants shared experiences from each country, and through group work and plenary discussions, crucial challenges about mental health among youth was identified. Overall, the main challenges involved stigma, too much responsibility on each individual person to get better, not enough preventative initiatives and a system that treats people based on their diagnosis instead of focusing on the individual person and individual needs. 

With this in mind, the participants discussed solutions and initiatives that could improve the way we view and treat mental health. Among others, the participants agreed that a mentor program, a holistic approach to mental health in schools, more permanent funding for organizations and national “helicopter” centres would be effective in securing social sustainability. 

Finally, these recommendations formed the agenda at a meeting with the Danish Minister of Social Affairs and The Interior, Astrid Krag. A representative from each country participated in the meeting, and the different opportunities to take political action was presented by our young voices. The minister was very positive towards their suggestions and encouraged further cooperation between our Nordic organizations.  

Focus on political impact 

One of the main focuses on this year’s summit was political action. Therefore, we invited some young voices in Danish politics to join the debate. Representatives from Danish political youth organizations ÅU, VU, RU, SFU and KU presented their different views on how to handle mental health challenges. 

The politicians agreed that the area of mental health needs more attention than it’s getting today. That said, they presented different suggestions on how to solve the increasing number of kids and youngsters experiencing poor mental health. The majority of their suggestions relied upon the school system, societal structures and social media as factors that impact youth’s mental health and should be adjusted accordingly.  

Their political views were challenged by our participants, who – with their work and personal stories in mind – contributed their opinions on effective and ineffective policy. 

How’s the Nordic youth doing?

 The summit did not only consist of young voices. Three voices were slightly older and provided a scientific view of the state of mental health among Nordic Youth. Karin Schulz from Mind in Sweden presented a study on social media use, sponsored by Facebook, and the effects it has on youth. 

Through statistics, Danish researcher and professor Carsten Obel explained what it’s like to be young today and what challenges the younger generations are facing. 

In addition, Arní Páll Árnasson, former Icelandic minister, shared his knowledge on Nordic youth and systemic challenges, like rigid educational systems – knowledge that he had gathered through his work for the Nordic Council on social provision. 

It doesn’t end here!

The Nordic cooperation continues, and exciting plans have already been made to create further awareness about mental health and increase the political pressure across Nordic borders. Stay tuned! 

For now, we would like to thank all the participants from Landsforeningen for Spiseforstyrrelser og Selvskade (DK), Unge På Vej (DK), Sinnisbati (FO), Avalak (GL), Mental Helse Ungdom (NO), headspace (DK), Tilia (SE), Ventilen (DK), Yeesi (FIN), OCD-Foreningen (DK), Hugarafl (IS), Kalaallit Røde Korsiat (GL) and Mind (SE).  

 

Do you have questions? 
For further comments, please contact head of communications Jakob Risom on jr@detsocialenetvaerk.dk or +45 61 65 65 40. 

 

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