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Active Youth For Mental Health: starting the new project (HOORAY!)

By Maria Malyshkina, ISCA

Encouraging adolescents to take up physical activity is challenging enough – but what if the activities are tailored to promote mental health and well-being specifically among young people? A group of international and inter-sectoral partners kicked off a new project titled HOORAY (Active Youth for Mental Health) in Munich, which will explore how physical activity can promote mental health and well-being of adolescents between 13 and 19 years of age.

The prevalence of mental health disorders among young people has been on the rise for several years. The pandemic exacerbated this trend, with many young people experiencing increased levels of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Similarly, the pandemic has also had a negative impact on the physical health of young people (e.g. children’s physical activity levels dropped by about 50%).

The HOORAY project aims to address this challenge by exploring the impact and positive influence of physical activity and sport on improving the overall well-being and mental health of young people. At the project kick-off meeting in Munich, the partners managed to agree on the timeline and the action plan of the project, and to exchange experience and useful insights in the field of mental health and physical activity for this specific group which for this project’s purposes it has been defined as young people of 13 to 19 years old.

Based on the EU Physical Activity Guidelines, the project team will collect good practices, and develop educational resources and an online knowledge hub for physical education teachers, youth workers, coaches, parents and other personnel working with teens that want to put more attention on mental health and health enhancing physical activity, and prioritize participation and well-being of youth over performance, pressure and results. Those resources and activities will target both, youngsters that are already physically active or enrolled in sport activities, and those who have been inactive and/or dropping out of sport.

Although the developed materials will serve for the education of their significant others, the project aims to involve the adolescents into developing the project materials. So, besides the good practices collection and the European-wide communication campaign, the project’s 2023 activities will include two studies: 1) “What works” – Evidence-based guidelines regarding physical activity and mental health of adolescents, and 2) “Youth voices” – how adolescents perceive mental health enhancing physical activity.

Project period: 1 January 2023 - 30 June 2025

Co-funded by: Erasmus+ Sport Cooperation Partnerships

Grant amount: €400,000

Project partners: ENGSO Youth(lead coordinator), International Sport and Culture Association / ISCA (Denmark); Technical University of Munich (Germany); Rijeka Sports Association for persons with disabilities (Croatia); Sport Algés e Dafundo (Portugal) ; Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Italy); Monaliiku (Finland)

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Posted on 06/03/2023 by Maria Malyshkina, ISCA


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