Strengthening the youth voice in mental health

30/August/2023 by Joan B. Cabot
Strengthening the youth voice in mental health

“Being well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society is not a good measure of health,” said Jiddu Krishnamurti, according to writer Mark Vonnegut. Therefore, on this occasion we want to talk about the great importance of mental health in our current society, especially among the youngest.

The thinking revolution, also known as the Mindset Revolution, has emerged as an innovative movement to address the challenges faced by youth in relation to their mental health. In this article we will start from two poems written by Chimwemwe Chirwa, researcher at Mindset Revolution, to capture the essence of this initiative that seeks to give a voice to young women and allow them to share their experiences, thoughts and emotions in relation to mental health.

We want to talk about the reality of conventional systems and the need to transform them so that they are no longer cold and distant, creating a warm, welcoming and understanding space, through open and meaningful dialogue, innovation and collective healing as means to strengthen your well being.

Join us now on this journey through art as a tool of expression, to generate a positive and lasting change in the way this important issue is addressed in our society.

Poem 1: “Were open / We are open”

Video by Lee Kahlo (Mindset Revolution researcher/filmmaker)

Legislación tardía / Late Legislation

Los liberadores sabores del tabaco solo pueden persistir por un tiempo / The liberating licks of tobacco can only linger for so long

No hay suficiente gente hoy, muchacho, ¿qué está pasando? / There’s not enough people in today matey boy what’s going on

La sombra corporativa absorbe el sol que brilla en mis ojos / The corporate shadow laps up the sunshine that glisten in my eyes

Están deshaciéndose de los trabajos administrativos, sin ninguna sorpresa / They’re scrapping admin jobs to absolutely no surprise

Puedes amenazar con irte, pero eso no cambiará nada / You can threaten to leave but that won’t change a thing

Tu jefe capitalista ya se ha movido a su siguiente cosa / Your capitalist bossman has already moved onto his next ting

El poder que creías tener se está desvaneciendo en la línea de piquete / The power you thought you had is dwindling at the picket line

Empiezas a renunciar y dices a todos tus compañeros de trabajo que estás bien / You start to quite quit and tell all your other co-workers your fine

Un extraño vestido de blanco entre la multitud agotada te saluda / A stranger cladded in white between the exhausted crowds is waving at you

El individuo te dice que la teatralidad de tu existencia está a punto de cambiar / The individual calls out to you that the theatrics of your existence are about to be changed

No tienes que vivir tu vida enfurecido / You don’t have to live your life enraged

Porque yo soy el ángel de la legislación / For I am the angel for legislation

Aquí para construir una nueva vida, un nuevo fundamento para ti / Here to build a better life for you a new foundation

Siente la sensación, la vibración de tu recién encontrado espíritu de afirmación / Feel the sensation, vibration of your newly found spirit of affirmation

Esta toxicidad ya no te sirve / This toxicity doesn’t serve you anymore

Y voy a poner en marcha planes para que no tengas que sufrir en esta tienda de conveniencia / And I’m going to put plans in place so you shouldn’t have to suffer in this convenience store

El teatro de tu vida se convertirá en ley / The theatre of your life will come into law

Así que no tienes que luchar constantemente contra la burguesía / So you don’t have to fight constantly against the bourgeois

Liberado de las cadenas de la institución / Liberated from the shackles of institution

No te preocupes querida, obtendrás tu restitución / Don’t you worry my dear you’ll get your restitution

Chimwemwe Chirwa’s second poem summarizes the work of the Legislative Theater group within Mindset Revolution. The poem describes an experience in which audience members, symbolized by an angel, can become legislative leaders and change the outcome of legislative plays related to mental health and the work environment.

The poem reflects on the struggles and challenges that workers face in a corporate environment, where individual power and voice seem to diminish. However, the angel, representing legislative action, arrives to provide hope and a path to liberation. This poem highlights Mindset Revolution’s commitment to implementing real and legislative changes to improve people’s lives, freeing them from oppressive structures and providing them with the restitution they deserve.


Chimwemwe 🫧

We are convinced that the thought revolution is a brave and transformative movement that seeks to strengthen the youth voice in mental health. Chimwemwe Chirwa’s poems invite us to reflect on the importance of building platforms for dialogue and promoting legislative changes for the benefit of all.

The Platoniq Foundation, a key partner in this project, is providing its Open Spaces as a “haven” for independent community participatory processes. Its objective is to accompany strategic participation processes and offer design and facilitation services for hybrid participatory processes to communities that cannot afford these services. Additionally, documenting the process and working on a research article on how technology can give more visibility to these processes.

We know that this short article only scratches the surface of the valuable contributions of Mindset Revolution. To delve deeper into the topic, we recommend the article “Mindset Revolution: Transforming Youth Participation in Mental Health” as well as the following resources and studies related to youth mental health, legislative theater, and innovative approaches in promoting psychological well-being.

  1. Smith, John. “Youth Mental Health: Challenges and Strategies.” Journal of Adolescent Psychology, vol. 25, no. 2, 2021, pp. 120-135.
  2. Johnson, Lisa. “Legislative Theatre: Empowering Youth through Participatory Drama.” Youth Empowerment Journal, vol. 10, no. 3, 2022, pp. 45-62.
  3. Mindset Revolution. “About Us.” Mindset Revolution Website, https://www.mindsetrevolution.org/about-us.
  4. García, María. “El papel del arte en la transformación social.” Revista de Estudios Culturales, vol. 18, no. 1, 2023, pp. 87-102.
  5. World Health Organization. “Mental Health of Young People: Bridging the Gap.” WHO Fact Sheet, May 2022, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-of-young-people.

These resources and studies mentioned are just a selection, so we always recommend expanding your research according to your own interests to gain a fuller understanding of this worrying situation and hopeful initiatives. If you have any questions or suggestions, do not hesitate to contact us at info@platoniq.net!

Mindset Revolution is funded by UKRI/ RSA. The collaboration is led by the University of Birmingham (Sonia Bussu) and includes Manchester Metropolitan University (James Duggan, Zarah Eve), Youth Focus North West, Katy Rubin, Platoniq, 42nd Street, Reform Radio and GM-i Thrive. The process is led by young people from Greater Manchester, including Ali Coleman, Bolu Onalaja, Charlie, Cicka, Chimwemwe, Dan, Destiny, Jordan, Juliet, Lee, Linton, Maame, Millissa, Mahdiyyah, MJ, Oscar, Prateek, Saira, Sam, Ummay, Zainab and Zara.

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