Feeling You(th). Improving Youth Mental Health

Every three years, the P&V Foundation initiates a multi-year project based on a rigorous approach that combines scientific research and attentive listening to the voices of young people. This method allows us to launch calls for projects aimed at supporting innovative and impactful initiatives. The involvement of young people is at the heart of our mission, as we firmly believe in their ability to shape a better future.

For the period 2024-2026, our focus is on a crucial topic: youth mental health. Through this project, we aim to understand, raise awareness, and provide concrete solutions to improve the mental well-being of younger generations. Discover our actions, the projects we support, and how you can contribute to this essential cause.

A Worrying Picture of Youth Mental Health

The latest results from the international Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey (2021/22 survey) paint a worrying picture of youth mental health. The survey reveals that one-third of young people felt nervous or irritable more than once a week in the past six months. One in four reported having sleep problems and/or feeling demoralized. While the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown measures are considered to have played a role in this situation, they are not the sole explanation. Life satisfaction and self-reported health among adolescents have been declining since 2018, while multiple health complaints - such as sleep difficulties, back pain or headaches, or feelings of depression - have been increasing since 2014.

The challenges faced by young people today are diverse and demanding, ranging from the climate crisis to academic pressures and social expectations, and the pervasive influence of social media. Research shows the importance of early intervention and the creation of supportive environments in which young people can thrive. While not all young people with poor mental health require specialized treatment, it can be necessary if their symptoms are not addressed in time. Schools are seen as a particularly important venue for achieving this, as they are the first point of contact for young people with mental health issues in most countries. Other social contexts such as family, peer groups, and the leisure sector are also very important.

Therefore, to improve youth mental health, the P&V Foundation has launched a new multi-year Research/Action program (2024-2026) comprising several phases.

Phase I – Research

Our research phase is based on a consultation of existing research and a reflection session between researchers and young people on youth mental health.

Several researchers explained the most relevant findings of their research on mental health to young people in an accessible manner. They then discussed with the young people what types of actions or interventions they consider most effective and on which the P&V Foundation could base its call for projects.

Discover the search results by clicking here.

Phase II – Call for Projects

The P&V Foundation will launch its call for projects in June 2024. Our call for projects, in which we will financially support projects aimed at improving youth mental health, will reflect what research and young people themselves say about this issue. An event will be organized in September to explain the different phases of our multi-year project and inspire project holders and others in implementing actions.

Once project proposals are submitted, they are evaluated based on predefined criteria such as feasibility, potential impact, alignment with the call's objectives, and the innovation they bring. This evaluation is conducted by the researchers and young people involved in Phase I.

Discover the complete call for projects with all the necessary information by clicking here.

Phase III – Action

This final phase involves the implementation and promotion of the selected initiatives and projects. They receive financial support in the form of grants and benefit from guidance and advice from experts. The results of the projects are shared with a wider audience to promote transparency and encourage other similar initiatives.

In this way, we ensure that the projects selected after the call for projects have every chance of success and can have a lasting positive impact.

13 June 2024

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