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University of Oslo (UiO) Spotlights Adolescent and Youth Mental Health and Well-Being in Norway.

Amidst the increasing global attention towards the mental health and well-being of young people and adolescents, the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare in Education (SHE) at the University of Oslo organized a national event on September 26, 2023. This event, "Adolescence and Youth — Mental Health and Well-Being for All", aligned its purpose with the lead-up to the Global Forum for Adolescents that took place on 11-12 October 2023. It dove into the societal significance of and explored the status of adolescent and youth mental health, not only on a global scale but also in the Norwegian context. Furthermore, the event served as a platform to showcase the efforts undertaken in Norway to promote well-being among its adolescents and young people.

What set this event apart was its primary emphasis on engaging students. Recognizing that young people themselves are essential stakeholders in discussions about their mental health, the event was structured to include their perspectives and insights. Their voices were the driving force behind this initiative. The event's program was a crafted blend of enlightening discussions, practical advice, and captivating panel dialogues. The key topics discussed included the impact of climate change on children's and youth's mental health, preventive measures for protecting mental health and seeking help for mental health issues. The distinguished Francis Vergunst, an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Educational Sciences (UiO), took the stage to share profound insights on the topic of "The impact of climate change on mental health and psychosocial development among children/youth."

To watch the presentation, click the video below:

The panel discussion titled “I am the future - what matters to me?” was an engaging dialogue moderated by Evgenia Taranova. On the panel, adolescents and young people shared their unique perspectives. The participants included Alexander Banik, an upper secondary school student, psychology students from Psykologistudentenes opplysningsarbeid for unge (POFU) Oslo, Mina Kharki, an Iranian master's student in the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare in Education (SHE) at the University of Oslo, and representatives from Mental Helse. Their insights into what matters to them underscored the significance of nurturing the mental health and well-being of young people.

The students of POFU offered empowering insights on simple, preventive measures that anyone, regardless of their age, can take to safeguard their mental health and overall well-being. POFU not only serves as advocates for mental well-being but also exemplified it by offering its perspectives and expertise during the event. Alexander Banik, highlighted the paramount importance of early education in the realm of adolescent mental health. He underlined how such education equips young people with the skills to forge meaningful connections, communicate effectively, and embrace openness. Mina Kharki, expressed her views, stating that adolescent mental health is a top priority for her. She emphasized that it's not just about physical safety; it encompasses emotional and social security. She stated that for young people to grow and realize their full potential, creating safe spaces where they can express themselves freely is essential.

To watch highlights of this panel discussion, click the short video below:

The organization Mental Helse shared valuable information and resources with event attendees, guiding them on when to seek mental health help and where to find it when needed. You can read more about their work here.

In an age where open conversations surrounding mental health are crucial, the “Adolescence and Youth - Mental Health and Well-Being for All” event was an informative opportunity for learning and discussion. It encouraged dialogue, awareness, and proactive steps to safeguard the mental well-being of adolescents and youth. By placing young people at the forefront of this discourse and event, the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare in Education (SHE) at the University of Oslo recognized them not only as recipients of care but as active participants in shaping the future of their mental health.

This event was organized to support the Global Forum for Adolescents as part of the 1.8 Billion Young People for Change Campaign. The Global Forum for Adolescents was the world's largest gathering for adolescent well-being. It took place on 11-12 October and brought together a global community of adolescents, advocates, and leaders for two impactful days of debate, dialogue, and action.

A mental health session titled “Mental health:Youth leaders break the silence” was one of the 33 Sessions organized as part of the forum. If you missed it, don’t worry—on-demand content is now available. You can watch and catch up on all the transformative discussions by clicking this link: WATCH ON DEMAND!

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