The Youth Engagement Scheme (YES)
Listening to children's opinions about matters that concern them is a necessary but demanding process. For this reason, the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Initiative includes a programmatic component coordinated by Giorgos Moschos, former Assistant Ombudsman for Children's Rights at the independent authority Ombudsman, called the Youth Engagement Scheme (YES).
The YES program encompasses the establishment of 5 Youth Advisory Groups in the cities of Athens, Thessaloniki, Alexandroupolis, Ioannina, and Heraklio. These groups are linked and work closely with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health hubs operating under the Initiative. The members of the groups are teenagers aged 13 to 17 selected from different schools and contexts in each city, so as to include as many perspectives and experiences as possible.
The members of the groups meet once a month with experienced coordinators and facilitators, communicate with each other online, discuss, give their opinion on issues related to the mental health of children and adolescents, plan and participate in various actions in their schools or other places where they spend time. Each teenager member of the team has at least one Educational Associate supporting related actions in school or other settings, which aim to listen to the opinions of other adolescents and to have a wider interaction with larger groups of teenagers on selected topics. Once a year and after proper preparation, a number of teenagers from all groups and their Educational Associates will have the opportunity to meet up and collaborate with members of the Initiative in a special discussion about the mental health of children and adolescents.
The aim of the program is to continuously and systematically feed the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Initiative team with the views and suggestions of adolescents on how to improve the mental health care they receive.