The idea of Feeling good at school project was born after National Institute for Health and Welfare had conducted youth and school surveys in Ostrobothnia region. These results, as well as a suggestions brought by youth councils to turn schools into more welcoming and friendly places had been the beginning of our work. The important issues highlighted by our target group were inter alia: supporting the healthy development resulting in high self esteem and solving a problem of lack of friends.
Youth surveys raised the concern about common experience of loneliness, depression and anxiety symptoms among young people in the region. The schoolchildren had also encountered bullying and aggressive behavior. According to studies, a home that provides clear borders, love and opportunity to discuss issues, predicts a strong psychological and social capacity for the child. The youth survey in Ostrobothnia shows a statistically significant positive link between inclusion (belonging experience) and mental health.
The aforementioned research results, as well as interviews and discussions with professionals and institutions in the region have led to the measures to ensure everyones wellbeing at school. This has required the will and cooperation of many parties.
From the very beginning the project has been supported by Vaasa City Primary Schools, Vaasa Region Associations, Vaasa Region Parents (VASEVARY), Ohjaamo project, The Finnish Association for Mental Health, KOKOA Ry- the well-trained experience of the Ostrobothnian region, Professor Raimo Lappalainen (Department of Psychology at Jyväskylä University) and Postdoctoral Researcher Päivi Lappalainen (Department of Psychology at Jyväskylä University), Finnish Parents’ Association and Vaasa Youth Council.
At this moment our group is developing methods to positively influence mental health, increase social and emotional skills, and prevent mental disorders.