Play & learn on mental health is the first board game for the mental health of young people, constructed in such a way that the adolescent players can be educated in an entertaining and interactive way on mental health issues.
Over 130 questions with 524 multiple choice answers on issues such as the Internet, school intimidation, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, juvenile delinquency, discriminations, personal perception and management of emotions. Issues which young people encounter in their everyday lives, are troubled by them and they often do not express their concern because they fear they will be stigmatized by their peers.
The Athena-Social Care Organization (now “Thalpos-Mental Health”), as an organization operating in the area of mental health, was inspired by this action aiming to substantially contribute in informing and raising the awareness of the adolescents on mental health issues, as well as in removing the stigma around it.
The planing, the implementation and the evaluation of the initiative lasted seven months and was carried out at the premises of the Organization by the group “action group Athena”. This group consisted of 13 new employees and volunteers of the Organization and as graduates of psychology, social sciences and occupational therapy, incooperation with mental health specialists, joined their knowledge and their youthful disposition to create a solid game, scientifically documented, and interactive, close to the culture of adolescents.
The main objectives of the initiative were as follows:
- The development of non-formal learning methods and the familiarization of the participants with the acquisition and the use of such experiences encouraging social cohesion.
- The substantial participation of young people at every stage of the implementation of an integrated action and their treatment as a creative and an integral element of it, going beyond the executive role usually assigned to them.
- The development of cooperative relations among young people in order to take initiatives and innovative projects.
- The strengthening of actions aiming to inform and to raise awareness on mental health issues and the promotion of a culture concerning mental health with regard to adolescents and those involved with them (parents, teachers, mental health professionals, public and private bodies).
In view of the above, the activities included in the initiative were, in summary, as follows:
- Detailed planing of the actions of the group for the implementation of the initiative.
- Theoretical investigation of mental health issues relating to adolescents with a view to determining the thematics and the appropriate configuration of the questions of the board game.
- Creative design of the board game in cooperation with the competent person for the construction and the graphic design.
- Planing and implementation of the communication strategy for the promotion of the initiative with recipients the entities associated with adolescents (Secondary Schools of Attica, Non Governmental Organizations, public and private bodies, mental health professionals) as well as the Media (print media, television, radio and electronic means).
- Organization and realization of the action for the implementation of the initiative (presentation and distribution of board game, informative speeches, theatrical event, workshops).
The working methods used by the "action group Athena” concerned:
- The division of work in groups - a group for drafting the questions, a creative design group, a group for organizing the action for the implementation and a group for the communicational promotion of the initiative.
- The distinction in individual sub-groups on the basis of the knowledge, the skills and the interests of the participants - sub-group for eating disorders, sub-group for school intimidation, sub-group for the communication with Secondary schools, sub-group for the management of online material.
- The regular meeting of all the participants in order to present the progress made by each group, the potential problems, the next steps, the formulation of proposals and finally the consent of all on the above issues.
This initiative was funded by the European Commission - Directorate-General for Education and Culture - Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency. Managing Authority of the program was the Youth Institute - National Body for the programs of the EU “New Generation in action” and lasted from July 2010 to February 2011.