PROCARE will evaluate and provide psychological strategies to strengthen adolescent students who need it emotionally.
Emotional problems among students between 12 and 18 years of age
The Regional Ministry of Education and the University of Jaén have already signed the collaboration agreement that makes it possible.
Throughout the month of March, researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Jaen (UJA) will begin screening to detect emotional problems in students aged 12 to 18 years in the Balearic Islands and to contribute to improving the health and emotional well-being of those who are interested.
The Minister of Education and Vocational Training, Martí March, and the Rector of the University of Jaén, Juan Gómez, have signed the collaboration agreement that regulates the implementation of the PROCARE project in the Balearic Islands. The aim of this agreement is to evaluate and provide psychological strategies to emotionally strengthen adolescent students who need it, both in public and state-subsidised centres on the Islands.
This agreement forms part of the Convivèxit strategy within the set of actions in the emotional and mental health field.
The educational centres interested in participating in the PROCARE 2023 INITIATIVE can do so by registering before 27th March 2023 on the Convivèxit website: https://www.caib.es/sites/convivexit/ca/educacia_emocional/
Amanda Fernández, Director General for Early Childhood, Innovation and the Educational Community, explains that “the application of this agreement arises from the satisfactory results and the good reception among the families and adolescents participating in PROCARE in the 2020-2021 academic year”. It also emphasises “the alarming data detected in the last school year, with an increase in self-harm, suicidal ideation and attempts, and one completed suicide, which highlights the need to offer specific resources for the emotional wellbeing of young people and their families”.
It should be remembered that since 2021 the Balearic Islands has had a Protocol for action in the face of self-harming behaviour which, as stated in the Convivèxit Report for the 2021/22 academic year, has led to the opening of 414 self-harming protocols in the Balearic Islands. “The fact of having a tool to detect, address and refer the case, together with the advice and support received from Health and Convivèxit, as well as the training of teachers through training and dissemination workshops, has helped to intervene more quickly and effectively,” added Fernández.
For his part, the UJA professor, Luis Joaquín García, stresses that “PROCARE is a pioneer in the international arena due to the fact that it is the first selective prevention programme aimed at young people aged between 12 and 18 at risk of suffering emotional problems at a stage conditioned by emotional difficulties after COVID-19”. At the same time, PROCARE contributes to emotionally helping young people who show the first symptoms of emotional problems.
“The results show a drastic reduction in emotional problems, a significant improvement in subjective quality of life and a greater regulation of emotions among the young participants and their families, at least up to twelve months after the end of the intervention,” says Luis Joaquín García. In fact, thanks to PROCARE, more than 1,500 adolescents throughout Spain have been helped through an evidence-based screening, assessment and intervention protocol adapted to the needs of young people.
Implementation in several phases
The screening will be carried out in several phases in Balearic schools, which have expressed concern about the decline in the emotional well-being of their students. In the first phase, the adolescent and his or her family will complete a questionnaire on emotional aspects online. “This tool will allow us to identify the risk or high risk of suffering an emotional problem, such as anxiety or depression,” says Luis Joaquín García. “All participants will receive information on the results of their emotional health and well-being free of charge”.
In the second phase, young people can benefit from a workshop on emotional strengthening and resilience in the face of present and future adversities. This will teach them how to cope with risky situations and enhance their communication skills. They will also receive an additional tailored module on conditions that make them feel vulnerable.
Finally, both six months and one year after the end of the workshop, they can carry out reminiscence sessions to consolidate the benefits acquired and evaluate the progress of the participating students in the emotional area.
This initiative is backed by the experience of PROCARE (‘Selective prevention through a transdiagnostic intervention for adolescents at risk of emotional problems’), a project funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation, which involves a team of researchers from the University of Jaén, one from the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, led by researcher Josefa Canals and a team from the University Miguel Hernández, led by researcher José Antonio Piqueras.
In addition, PROCARE has an External Advisory Board formed by the Spanish Youth Institute (INJUVE), the Spanish Youth Council (CJE), the Youth Group of the State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Trans, Bisexuals, Intersexuals and more (FELGTBI+), the Confederation of Psychopedagogy and Guidance Organisations of Spain (COPOE) and the Spanish Association of Mutual Help against Social Phobia and Anxiety Disorders (AMTAES).