The project called ‘Don’t Worry Be You’ is funded by the Erasmus + program and we are implementing it with partner organizations from six European countries with the aim of empowering young people with knowledge, techniques and competencies on how to live a happier life.
One of the activities of the project is an informal gathering of young people in Zagreb from 15 to 30 years of age in order to encourage them to talk about their daily challenges, needs and problems. Also, one of our goals was to see all the ways we can empower young people and people who work with young people with the necessary knowledge, skills and techniques to get closer to the desired way of life.
The gathering was attended by 10 young people aged 15 to 30 who voluntarily shared their experiences from school, family and peer relationships. We started the workshop by asking what well-being is for them and we got various answers: self-esteem, hanging out with friends, inner happiness, peace, room, acceptance, money, etc. We agreed that well-being is a term that is difficult to translate in Croatian because everyone has an individual meaning of the word and we decided to use the term well-being until the end of the education.
We also shared opinions on the state of society and discussed key topics of concern to young people. They are worried about uncertainty, isolation, the excessive presence of negative news in public sphere, lack of empathy and various other things.
The top three issues we focused on were fear of failure, lack of motivation, and decreased self-confidence. The young people in pairs came up with various solutions that they believe would reduce the fear of failure and increase motivation and self-confidence. They believe that the abolition of grades as a measure of knowledge and the involvement of young people in decision-making processes leads to increased self-confidence and motivation and reduced fear of failure. In addition, they think that educating teachers and education staff about the importance of mental health conversations and reducing the stigma of those who talk openly about mental health leads to a reduction in fear of failure and an increase in motivation.
We concluded that in the educational system and society, there is not enough discussion about mental health and that young people have a great need for socialization and sharing, which has been neglected in the past two years and now they need more than ever to talk and socialize with others. This is just one of the educations that we will hold with young people and we hope that through working with them, we will be able to influence living conditions and help create tools for a better life.