Mental well-being – a fundamental pillar to sustainable youth livelihoods
YEJ’s Youth enterprise and employment theory of change operates on a belief that livelihood development is centred on an empowerment process that goes beyond immediate skills development, to include self-transformation. Without such skills young people will not be in a strong position to effectively access services, obtain a livelihood or claim their position and effectively contribute to their community and the broader society.
Central to this pathway is the need for young people to be equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools to nurture their mental well-being. Our mental well-being work focuses on mindfulness-based interventions and developing a mindfulness practice as a way of building young peoples resilience.
Mindfulness training supports young people in:
– Enhancing their focus and attention
– Improving their confidence
– Enhancing their creativity
– Increases their self-awareness and awareness of others
– Strengthens cognitive effectiveness, and
– Raises their levels of resilience and emotional intelligence.
To this end, YEJ’s area of impact on mental well-being and resilience includes:
– Counselling including mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
– Peer-to-peer support
– Life coaching
– Safe spaces
– Creative arts therapy
– Culturally appropriate movement therapy (yoga, tai chi, qigong, dance therapy).
Our theory of change premises that through mental well being and resilience, and acquiring essential work and life skills alongside sustainable livelihoods; young people will develop a sense of autonomy and purpose, personal empowerment which in turn leads them to fully engage and contribute to their community and the broader society as both financial citizens and active citizens.
The pathways by which we understand young people will achieve sustainable livelihoods are also proven pathways to improved mental health. These include:
- Basic Skill acquisition – functional literacy, basic numeracy, and financial literacy.
- Work Skills development – entrepreneurship, technical & vocational skills
- Skills for Life and Work – self-esteem, self-perception, leadership and social competencies
- Access to Services, Markets and Information – labour market information, goods and services market information, and financial services
- Networking – supportive relationships with peers, family and adults, and positive affiliations and networks, economic cooperation and civic and political engagement to affect community conditions and structural change to ensure every young person has the opportunity to thrive.