LIKE Annual conference

Credits: LIKE

The annual conference “The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of NEETs” was held on 21 November, organised by the Association “Sustainability of progressive and open communication”, leading partner in the LIKE “Life Investment is the Key to Employment” Project. During the online broadcast of the event, the audience had the opportunity to ask their questions via live chat, or by phone if they didn’t want to reveal their identity. The LIKE Project works with young people with mental health problems, and all the methods and approaches used take into account the specifics of the target group. During the discussion, interesting questions on preserving mental health came from the audience, giving the speakers the chance to share some advice and recommendations on how to deal with the stress, fear and anxiety caused by the restrictions and the pandemic.

After a brief introduction by the head of the project, who talked about the project progress and the research carried out, the conference continued with a description of the historical aspect of pandemics, paying attention to the lack of exclusivity of this pandemic. This created a sense of ease and relieved some of the stress among the audience. One of the psychology experts discussed the topic of social isolation, defining the term “loneliness” and explaining how isolation affects NEETs’ mental health, stressing that continuity of loneliness could be a predictor of long-term mental health problems, and from there went on to discuss the difficulties of social inclusion and employment. This topic was followed by insight on how the COVID-19 pandemic affects youth unemployment, and it was reviewed by the psychiatry expert, who paid attention to the difficulties and struggles that NEETs face trying to find a job in the current situation. The speakers talked about the activities of the “Hidden Likes” houses being adapted to the current situation, stressing that, if necessary, more psychological interventions are possible if the mental problems of the NEETs intensify.

In conclusion, the conference was informative, shedding light on past events and potential developments for the future, and gave some indications on the activities in relation to the current situation, striving to keep a positive tone despite all the negative situations, reassuring that the work will continue by implementing all the necessary safety measures for both NEETs and their mentors.


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