Dear UPRIGHT friends,
Now when the end of the year 2020 is approaching, we share with you our newsletter. The year 2020 has been strange in many ways, as the COVID-19 outbreak has affected us all. Through it all, we hope that you and your loved ones have stayed safe and well. There are many things this time has taught us i.e. working together has never been as important and enhance our resilience skills in order to cope with and adapt to new situations. In this newsletter, we share with you our year in brief.
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The general aim of the UPRIGHT programme is to promote mental well-being and prevent mental disorders in youth by enhancing resilience capacities, through a whole school approach addressing early adolescents, their families and the school community, in order to create a real mental well-being culture at schools. Our ambition is to be the first school-based primary intervention programme that will promote mental health and well-being, targeting adolescents of 12–14 years of age.
With our research, we want to contribute to existing scientific knowledge that improves the lives of our adolescents and create a culture of mental well-being. In order to do so we need the whole school community to participate in the different UPRIGHT activities included in the program and by answering the evaluation questionnaires that will allow us to determine the effectiveness of the UPRIGHT intervention. Your contribution is essential, for the project and future generations.
Our fifth consortium meeting took place online in October. Our original plan was to meet in Wroclaw, Poland where our partners from Marshal’s Office of Lower Silesia were going to welcome us and host the meeting but due to COVID-19, we were not able to meet face to face this time. The focus was on the implementation and evaluations of the UPRIGHT programme. Representatives from all partners attended the meeting online and discussed the progress and upcoming period of the UPRIGHT project.
The second day, the meeting started with our External Ethical Advisory Board. They were informed of the impact the COVID-19 has had on the project and the contingency plan for the procedures of implementation and evaluation. Their contribution and recommendations are essential to protecting the dignity, rights, safety and well-being of the subjects involved in the UPRIGHT project.
Overall, the meeting was a success, and we thank our coordinators, Kronikgune, for the organisation and all partners for their contribution. We will continue to develop the programme and realize that it might never be as important as now, in times of uncertainty. It is our hope that the UPRIGHT programme will help students, families and teachers to adapt to new circumstances now and in the future.
Bryndís Jóna Jónsdóttir from our specialist in mindfulness shared with us the article “The little moments are our lives”. In the article, she encourages us to nurture our relationships and be present for each other as much as possible and reminds us that mindfulness does not have to be complicated. Every day, every moment are opportunities to focus on the present. Even just noticing a little smile, a twinkle in the eye or touch can bring us to the present. It helps us to disable our self-control, reduce speed and stress.
Everyone can train in mindfulness and as adults; we can help the younger ones, both at home and in school. We promote balance and well-being by being aware of seizing the opportunity to experience the moment when we realize we are spiritually absent. It is important to discuss this with children and youth and create conditions for them to nurture their present consciousness. Everyday activities are valuable opportunities for us to train being present by tuning in to our senses and experiences. A short moment where we sit together and monitor our breath, look around or ask ourselves the question “how do I feel? This is how we connect to life and experience while it is happening.
Tips for children and adults to practice mindfulness at home and in school:
May this Christmas end the present year full of uncertainty and make way for a bright New Year. From the UPRIGHT consortium.
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