Youth, pandemic and malaise. Listening continues for the construction of the new social and health plan

The effects of the pandemic, the difficulties that have arisen in particular among young and very young people, but also the process of listening and support that the institutions, starting with the Region, have started to meet new needs. With the aim of continuing to work together to build the new social and health plan of Emilia-Romagna: the planning document that constitutes the architecture of the network of integrated social and health services of the territory and which must aim at a good -be increasingly universal, fair and inclusive. Also through a strong educational pact with the best energies of the territory. This was discussed today in Bologna at the first thematic meeting “An alliance of communities for the well-being of young people”, organized by the Region for the construction of the Plan. A well-attended meeting, attended by around 500 operators, both present and connected remotely, attended by Vice President responsible for welfare and youth policies, Elly Schlein, and advisers for health policies, Raffaele Donini, and at school, Paola Salomoni.

Also present were the prefect of the regional capital, Attilio Visconti, the deputy director of the regional school office, Bruno di Palma, the regional guarantor for children and adolescents, Claudia Giudici, the mayor of Correggio Ilenia Malavasi for the ANCI, the spokesperson for the Regional Third Sector Forum Fausto Viviani, the president of the regional student council Andrea Giua, Don Davide Baraldi (Episcopal Vicar for Laity, Family and Work), as well as experts and representatives of institutions , third sector associations and students.

“The pandemic- pointed out Vice-President Schlein– had a huge negative impact from a health point of view, but also exacerbated social and educational inequalities among adolescents, who experienced a kind of suspension of sociality, with heavy psychological repercussions due to an increase in state of discomfort and anxiety. As a Region, we have started a process of participation and listening to all regional realities engaged on this front, to give a concrete response to critical problems and emerging needs. It takes a community alliance for the well-being of young people with the support of the best energies and ideas of the regional society, starting with the ideas and proposals that we collect directly in this way for the new social and health plan, as well as as young people from the territories with Youz, the first youth forum in Emilia-Romagna which started in 2021”.

Youth and families

Many initiatives in favor of young people carried out by the Region over the past two years: the many ideas that emerged from Youz, the Regional Youth Forum which brought together more than 2,000 girls and boys under 35 years of age, found a first synthesis in the decalogue approved by the regional government which made available 600 thousand euros for the launch of a first call for tenders. Then the 3.2 million euros set up by the Regional Council, in collaboration with the Legislative Assembly, for the creation of an ad hoc fund to prevent and fight against hardship and social withdrawal of young people (hikikimori ); and again the work carried out by the 40 Family Centers active in the regional territory, which will receive additional funding of 250 thousand euros this year.

A commitment, that of the Region and the institutions, which is continuing and strengthening, as also pointed out by Councilors Donini and Salomoni.

“The health emergency experienced over the past two years- Donini pointed out– demonstrated the great resilience of the regional community, but also aggravated the feeling of unease felt by young people and adolescents. It is necessary to move to a new paradigm, to provide answers to the new needs that have appeared by providing adequate psychological support to children, but also to their families, in the management of emotions and affectivity. This translates into the need for new programming, in the name of greater integration between interventions and social and health services and of the “The health emergency experienced in the last two years – pointed out Donini – has demonstrated the great resilience of the regional community, but it has also aggravated the feeling of unease felt by young people and adolescents It is necessary to move to a new paradigm, to give answers to the new needs that have arisen by providing adequate psychological support for children, but also for their families, in the management of emotions and affectivity.This translates, from the ability of institutions to listen to the world of young people, to the need for new programming , in the name of greater integration between health and social services and interventions”.

Psychological support

The Department of Health Policy has launched a plan that provides for the presence from September of two psychologists in each health district, with the objective of permanently hiring more than 300 new professionals in the future homes of the community over the next four years and an investment of nearly 23 million euros per year when it is fully operational. Another commitment made, that of strengthening and qualifying access points for adolescents to social and health services, starting with young people’s spaces within family counseling centres.

Education and well-being in school buildings

Equally important is the commitment on the development front of the Network of schools that promote health, with the permanent regional table for health education and prevention in the education and training system, and of “the space for education”, also to promote “the access of young people to the world of work: 20 new courses of study, including 6 in English, will be activated by the universities of Emilia-Romagna from the academic year 2022-2023.

“Adolescence represents a period of transition characterized by great changes and challenges, which requires special attention because it is precisely in this phase that behaviors are consolidated – said Councilor Salomoni-. The role of the Region is also that, through the regional table for health education and prevention in the education and training system, to support the development of the network of health-promoting schools. Ours is the only region in Italy to have adopted a law dedicated to the promotion of the health and well-being of female students by promoting health education and the culture of prevention among the subjects of the education system and training. In addition to this, we have been committed since the beginning of the mandate for the well-being in the space where the school takes place, drawing up, together with the architect Cucinella, the document ‘Space for Education: Guidelines for schools in Emilia-Romagna ‘ “.

The cycle of thematic meetings for the definition of the new regional socio-health plan will continue in May with two planned initiatives on mental health (day 10) and housing policies (11).

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