Suggested citation: Kuosmanen, T., Dowling, K. and Barry, M.M., (2020). A Framework for Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing in the European Youth Sector. A report produced as part of the Erasmus+ Project: Promoting positive mental health in the European Youth sector. World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Health Promotion Research, National University of Ireland Galway. www.nuigalway.ie/hprc
As part of the European Youth Goals, young people in Europe have identified better mental health and wellbeing as one of their main concerns for young people today (www.youthgoals.eu). The youth sector setting is an important one for promoting young people’s mental health and social and emotional wellbeing by providing a supportive environment for building positive relationships with adults and peers and practicing social and emotional competencies. However, although many innovative practices are currently applied in youth settings, there is a lack of a systematic approach for promoting young people’s mental health and wellbeing in the European youth sector.
This report outlines a framework for promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in the European youth sector. A framework is a tool that helps to organise ideas to provide a foundation for thinking, communicating and acting (Blyth, Jones & Borowski, 2018). This framework was developed as part of the Erasmus+ project Promoting Positive Mental Health in the European Youth Sector, and provides the theoretical background for promoting positive mental health and social and emotional development in young people. Two further resources, a Manual for Youth Workers and Guidelines for Youth Organisations in promoting positive youth mental health are developed based on this framework. Furthermore, a training course for youth workers in using these resources is developed as part of the project.
The framework presented in this report is based on theories of mental health promotion and positive youth development and was informed by a review of the literature on social and emotional development frameworks and best practice guidelines in promoting positive mental health in youth settings. Consultations with project partners, as well as youth workers and young people in Europe, also informed the final iteration of the framework and how the next stage of implementing this framework in practice is to be carried out in the youth sector.