An innovative volunteering project about mental health
A new project started on the 3rd of June in Thessaloniki, founded by the European Solidarity Corps. “GYM: Health for us and for the Earth” is organized by the United Societies of Balkans, in association with the Psychiatric Hospital of Stavroupoli and the Open Therapeutic Community of Argo. A team of sixteen volunteers from Armenia, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Italy, and Portugal are currently working to renew the Green Space in the backyard of the Hospital, while at the same time participating in a series of other creative activities, in collaboration with patients of the psychiatric department and former drug-addicts.
“GYM: Health for us and for the Earth” contains a wide range of activities, related to agriculture, art, and sports, all in a group context. The main focus will be on the reintegration program of Monada Prasinu (Green Unities), where the volunteers will perform agricultural work, in cooperation with the Hospital’s team. Innovative art healing methods will be used as well. Furthermore, music plays an important role too, as volunteers that can play a musical instrument are able to join the music band of the psychiatric hospital and compose songs with the band members. Many cultural activities will be held as well, in order to enhance the multicultural style of the program.
The main aim of this project is to promote mental health and to provide support to groups of people with mental issues. “GYM: Health for us and for the Earth” also contributes to the elimination of the social stigma around mental health issues and addiction, the facilitation of the social reintegration of the Hospital’s patients, and the promotion of the therapeutic properties of manual labor and creative occupation. In addition, the program favors the collaboration between young people of different origins and cultural backgrounds, while promoting intercultural dialogue.
Throughout this project, the volunteers will have the chance to comprehend more about issues related to mental health, overcome many stereotypes and prejudices, learn innovative methods that they can transfer back to their countries, and, of course, express and expand their creativity. The project will end on the 30th of July.