This year, UNICEF will support the Milky Way race with a standardized mental health literacy program for teachers called “Help Me”, implemented by the Croatian Institute of Public Health with the support of the Agency for Education.
The head of the Living Healthy program, Sanja Musić Milanović, said that in 2017, a survey was conducted on the health literacy of educators.
“The results showed that almost all of them or as many as 95% are willing to learn how to recognise and react to mental health problems of their students. However, 76% do not dare do anything because they do not know how they can help,” she said.
That is why we need “education for educators,” Musić Milanović said and invited citizens to join and support the education program. She added that physical activity is extremely important for maintaining mental health but also for the prevention of obesity and other health problems associated with being overweight.
The Milky Way race has attracted about 20,000 participants and raised about HRK 2.5 million. This year’s edition is especially important because it comes after a challenging and stressful period marked by the pandemic and earthquakes, said the head of the UNICEF Office for Croatia, Regina Castillo.
Mental health means a better quality of life, and the first signs of mental health problems appear as early as childhood and puberty. Problems are present in 12% of young people between the ages of 10 and 19, Castillo said.
“Research conducted in Croatia indicates that the mental health of young people after the pandemic is deteriorating. “The idea behind the ‘Help Me’ program is to help people between the ages of 14 and 16 because that’s when they feel powerless,” the director of the Education Agency, Dubravka Brezak Stamać, said.
UNICEF’s Milky Way charity race will take place from 9 to 18 September throughout Croatia. Citizens can participate by walking, running, cycling, rollerblading or by making a donation and in that way help raise awareness of the importance of the mental health of children and young people.
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