About The Programme
The Portuguese Young Health Programme, LIKE ME, promotes the mental health of pre-teens with behavioural issues; triggered mainly by self-concept, self-esteem and self-image problems. Many of these youth, aged between 10 - 12, have little or no access to healthcare and live in vulnerable situations.
The local partner in the Programme is Médicos do Mundo (MdM), a non-governmental organisation, established in 1999.
The current economic crisis is impacting many families in Portugal with rising unemployment rates and increased poverty – a recent study found that 21% of Portuguese children live below the poverty line. Adolescence is a period of vulnerability, agitation, conflict and development.
Often adolescents are aware of the real risks associated with certain practices and behaviours, however, they choose to ignore them. This emphasizes the importance of ‘participatory strategies’ to promote healthy lifestyles involving active participation, not only from the individual but also the family, peers and community in general.
What activities are taking place locally?
- Research: a survey has been conducted amongst school children to assess attitudes to mental health. This will help determine and prioritise information needs and provide a baseline to evaluate programme outcomes
- Collaboration: establish networks and engage with other relevant projects and neighbourhoods
- Thematic workshops: focusing on recreational, sports and self-expression activities to apply the methodology of non- formal education
- Training: youths will be trained in the area of mental health through peer education and provided with ongoing support, supervision and monitoring throughout the project
- Theatre: a series of ‘Cine Forum’ soap opera style productions will be produced on key topics lasting 5 minutes featuring key characters, aged 10-12, that go through various situations
- Holiday camp: it is planned to invite all those who have participated in the project from the beginning to a holiday camp, with the aim of producing a ‘Manual of Good Practice’
What did we want to achieve through the Programme?
Encourage youths to take control of their health and well-being, achieving self-reliance and self-respect and thereby preventing future risk behaviours. This will be achieved through personalised and specialised support from a multidisciplinary team using a peer education methodology, in the scope of informal education.
- By 2015, increase self-esteem in youths by 30%.
- By 2015, increase the number of youths trained in the field of mental health by 10%.
What has been achieved?
The survey has been undertaken by 113 school children and, in late 2014, five of the seven subjects initially planned have been covered.
Before YHP: I used to bully other children at school. My older sister told me to stop but I didn’t.
My Story: I live with my mother who is unemployed, my father, who does odd jobs, and four brothers. I know many young people my age who take drugs. I wish my neighbourhood had nothing to do with drugs and drug raids. I would like to get out of this bad environment.
How the Young Health Programme helped me: YHP has had a positive impact on my behaviour. I learnt to accept myself as I am, to have more confidence in myself and to stop being a bully. I have also learnt some very important things through YHP. Now when I see a friend doing something wrong with drugs or alcohol, I know how to advise them or tell them where they can get help.
In the future I want to follow my dream of becoming a ballet dancer.
Before YHP: I’m in my eighth year at school but could be further ahead if it wasn’t for bad influences.
My Story: I live with my parents, three brothers, brother-in-law and two nieces. I didn’t know much about certain things, especially what behaviour might be called bullying.
How the Young Health Programme helped me: Through YHP my self confidence has grown and I have learnt to be more careful with drugs, disease and food. I also know more about bullying and have gained more respect for others. I could have gone in other directions, but I have my eyes more open and now I know how to advise people better, especially my family.
In the future I want to have an honest job, my own house paid for with my money and a small family. I only want children when I have a stable life.
Our Local Partner
Médicos do Mundo (MdM) is a non- governmental organisation, established in 1999, that develops national and international projects. MdM’s mission is the provision of healthcare to the most vulnerable of populations, both in emergency situations and in combating social exclusion.
MdM have identified two strategic priorities:
- Development – medium and long-term projects with the objective of providing the basis for a broader and more sustained development of health:
- National Projects – actions aimed at people excluded from our society and who live on the limit of the social resources to which they are entitled
- Information, Education and Communication – initiatives aimed at informing the public of the most neglected structural issues that may be subject to disclosure and education
- Emergency – urgent aid in regions affected by hunger, war, epidemics or natural disasters