About The Programme
In Sweden there has been a decline in mental health in young people. Despite this, it remains an under-funded and under-researched area.
Whilst there is a lot of information available on how the teenage brain functions, the challenge is to spread this knowledge into communities, to enable young people and those who support them, including their families and schools, to understand mental health development, mental health conditions and solutions to mental health issues.
The Swedish Young Health Programme is focused on improving mental health and emotional well-being among young people through partnership with non-profit organisations.
What activities are taking place locally?
- A film series about the teenage brain is being distributed to schools and can be downloaded from a website by teachers and parents
- Enabling AstraZeneca employees to engage in voluntary work to help non-profit organisations reach young people
- Collaborations with different non-profit organisations focused on young mental health
What do we want to achieve through the Programme?
- Through communication, raise awareness around mental health amongst young people, their parents and professionals that work with them
- Provide direct support through volunteering
- Be part of the dialogue on mental health within society
What has been achieved so far?
“The Teenage Brain” film series is based on the following themes; the sleeping brain, the social brain, the passionate and sensitive brain, the rewarding brain and the learning brain.
Parents of teenagers, teachers and teenagers themselves are the primary audience. Support materials are also available for schools to help with questions that teenagers may have after watching the films. More than 10,000 copies of the film have been distributed to local partner schools and more than 160,000 teenagers have seen the films.
Volunteering: This year there will be 6-8 group volunteer assignments in addition to individual assignments. The total number of volunteers to date is 267 employees representing over 5% of the workforce in Sweden.
Listening to adolescents: “See the whole of me!” This study was a three year collaboration between the NGO, BRIS, and AstraZeneca’s Young Health Programme in Sweden. It was a qualitative study involving 1,530 anonymous participants communicating via email and social media. The purpose of the study was to understand the problems of mental illness from the perspective of children: what they themselves have to say about mental illness, its causes, the symptoms, how they seek help and what they felt would best help them. It also looked at aspects such as gender differences. The report was published and circulated to professionals working with children and teenagers, as well as presented in various lectures and seminars. It was also accompanied by a series of short films based on the youth sound bites from the study.
Before YHP: I was insecure and felt scared of moving outside my comfort zone.
My Story: My parents grew up in Turkey. They lived a different life and had a different upbringing. I used to stay at home studying and rarely saw other places. I was very careful and was simply too insecure to go anywhere.
How the Young Health Programme helped me: The YHP mentor programme has been good for me. Before I wasn’t keen on using public transport and double-checked my travel plans again and again. Now I can travel on the subway. My mentor has helped me find my way; not only when it comes to which high school courses I should choose or what summer jobs I should apply for, but by encouraging me to try new things.
I have become more courageous, both in terms of the things I get involved in and the things I can discuss with my mentor. I can say what I think and want without difficulty. I am curious about the future and the adult world.
Our Local Partners
Mentor Sweden is a non-profit organisation whose purpose is to prevent violence and drug use among adolescents. The organisation not only gives young people an adult mentor for a year, but also works with schools, helping to inspire and motivate students. Mentor Sweden co-operates with the international organisation, Mentor Foundation, which has offices in seven countries.
Volontärbyrån - The Swedish Volunteer Bureau
The Volunteer Bureau is a non-profit organisation that connects business and private individuals with organisations that need help. The Volunteer Bureau started in 2002 and provides training and expertise in volunteer management to the voluntary sector.
BRIS is a non-profit organisation founded in 1971, working for the rights of young people, supporting them in distress and providing a link between youths, adults and the community. The goal of BRIS support services, such as the Children Helpline, is to strengthen the rights of children and young people and improve their living conditions, which is done with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a guide.