It is widely believed that the most effective way of reducing the impact of mental health issues for young people is achieved not only done through the provision of health services dealing with specific mental health issues but also through the provision of information for young people and the development of a supportive environment and the development of a culture where the potential for mental ill-health is greatly diminished. The main objective of the Happy Days project is to help schools to develop these conditions.
With this in mind, Co. Meath VEC of Ireland established the ‘Happy Days Project’, a Comenius funded European project with the aim of devising an encompassing strategy for European schools by which the best possible environments possible to mitigate against poor mental health might be created. The project was developed in conjunction with second level schools, centres of education, educational policy makers and relevant health service personnel.
In order to carry out the work associated with this project, Co. Meath VEC formed a consortium of organisations from several European countries. Organisations were chosen for particular skill-sets and specific expertise that would ensure that the Happy Days Framework would be the best possible fit for second-level schools in a pan-European context. These partners are; Vytautas Magnus University of Lithuania, I.P. Beja of Portugal, KCZIA of Poland, 1st Epal Magnesia of Greece and Timesnap of Ireland.
The Happy Days project is designed as a facility by which European second-level schools can create a culture where positive mental health is promoted, supported and monitored and where signs of mental ill-health in young people can be identified, either by the young person themselves, or by another member of the school community. The key stakeholders in the project are the groups who make up the school community; the students, the school staff team and the parents.