Open up: You deserve to be happy!

Youth Exchange 17/04/2023 – 25/04/2023 in Rakican (Murska Sobota), Slovenia 

EKO is happy to announce that one more amazing youth exchange has been successfully completed. The project “Open up: You deserve to be happy!” united 36 young participants from Portugal, Greece, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Lithuania. It was organized by the Slovenian organization Kulturno turistično društvo Dvorec Rakičan, and took place in Rakican (Murska Sobota), Slovenia from 17  to 25 of April 2023. 


Aims & Objectives of the project


The aim of this project was to activate young people about  the problem of stigmatizing mental health, especially in today’s time when young people are largely left without help due to the pandemic. Stigma and prejudice brought about by mental problems and disorders discourage young people from seeking help; they cause social exclusion in young people with already defined disorders. Another obstacle is misconceptions and stereotypes about mental problems and disorders, due to which young people in their environment do not recognize problems and disorders, attribute them to external factors. All of the above in weak preventive activities in the field of mental health of young people causes young people to seek help (too) late. This project encouraged young people and their surroundings to talk about mental health without trauma in distress. 


More specifically the objectives were:


  • – to get acquainted with the forms of mental health and mental disorders
  • – to educate and raise awareness among young people and the public about the importance of mental health discourse
  • – to identify and prevent mental health problems
  • – to exchange of experience and mutual support
  • – to strengthen and maintain the good mental health of the participants

Workshops & Activities of the project 


The components of this youth exchange were various activities and workshops, through which participants learned about several aspects of mental health and that talking about it reduces the fears and stigma that surrounds mental health. They also had the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and skills (learning a foreign language, representing one’s own opinion, exchanging ideas and experiences, group and individual work…). Participants learned more about mental health and mental disorders. They exchanged experiences and found that they are not alone. They became aware of the importance of mental health and learned about the forms of help. With examples from personal experience, they  found that it is necessary to be ready to speak.


The experience from the leader’s point of view, Ms. Barda Mance!


<<We were lucky to be part of a very interesting program about mental health with the active participation of the participants and a careful preparation of every detail of the program by the organizers. The Greek team consisted of six participants, combining participants with experience in other programs and participants for the first time.


We were welcomed in the best way by the organizers in the clean city of Murska Subota, in an interesting castle and wonderful nature that allowed us to express ourselves in the best way. The program was nicely organized with many activities combined with discussions and meditations in the auditorium under the guidance of qualified guests who gave us many opportunities to express ourselves. This helped us to know ourselves better and deepen the understanding of our inner world and the surrounding environment. The action of cleaning the shore of the artificial lake and climbing the mountain gave us the opportunity to measure our mental and physical strength and abilities and feel useful at the same time. We had implemented interesting practices and well-organized workshops under the guidance of mental health specialists, as well as two workshops where we painted, built pictures for children and spread positive messages about our lives and the children’s lives.


Getting to know the city of Murska Subota was also realized through an intensive cognitive action that gave us the opportunity to better understand this place and the hardworking and human spirit of the people who love and care so much for their city. The conversation with the mayor of the city gave us the opportunity to estimate how well the country is run and what results there are when fair social policies are implemented in such a clean city where the problem of not having homeless and people begging around the city has been solved. Overall it was a very useful program that helped us improve our mental health and transmit positive messages about life.>>


An amazing opportunity and great experience for EKO’s team


Sotiris, Vivian, Marios, Effie, Nikos, and Bardha were the members of this amazing Greek team whom we really wanna thank for all their contribution and collaboration throughout the project!


As EKO, we are very grateful for that amazing opportunity given to the Greek team and we thank our partner Kulturno turistično društvo Dvorec Rakičan and the members of the hosting organization for all their hard work and for creating such an impactful project!


Thank you – Ευχαριστούμε – Hvala