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Universal Preventive Resilience Intervention Globally implemented in schools to improve and promote mental Health for Teenagers

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - UPRIGHT (Universal Preventive Resilience Intervention Globally implemented in schools to improve and promote mental Health for Teenagers)

Reporting period: 2019-07-01 to 2020-12-31

Early adolescence (10-14 years) is a time of many physical, mental, emotional, and social changes. Few developmental periods are characterized by so many changes at so many different levels, when children face the biological transformations of puberty, the educational transition from elementary to secondary school, and the psychological shifts that accompany the emergence of sexuality. The literature shows an increase in the incidence of mental health problems in adolescents over the past decade.

Nevertheless, not all youths who experience disadvantage, adversity, or exposure to risk factors experience negative mental health outcomes. The concept of RESILIENCE provides one possible explanation for the ability of some individuals to maintain positive mental health. Resilience research gives an overview over protective factors by providing with effective assets to reduce the impact of risk factors, enhance protective factors for good mental health and lead to lasting positive effects on a range of educational, social and economic outcomes. Research in this area is limited, but suggests that high levels of resilience may prevent the development of mental health problems in adolescents.

At present, there are several unmet needs in this field, including lack of evidence-based programmes covering prevention and promotion of mental health in adolescents. Universal Preventive Resilience Intervention Globally Implemented In Schools To Improve And Promote Mental Health For Teenagers (UPRIGHT) project aims to deploy and evaluate an integrative intervention in a school environment. Thus, UPRIGHT general objective is to promote mental well-being and prevent mental disorders by enhancing resilience capacities in youths, through a holistic approach addressing early adolescents, their families and education professionals. UPRIGHT conceptual framework is structured in four different domains (coping, efficacy, social and emotional learning and mindfulness practice).

Other UPRIGHT objectives are:
- To co-create an innovative resilience holistic programme in schools for the promotion of mental health in youths- between 12 and 14 years.
- To provide evidence of specific resilience factors promoting positive mental well-being longitudinally and acting as moderators of positive mental well-being outcomes.
- To demonstrate the effectiveness and predict future impact of an intervention in terms of improvement of quality of life, mental well-being and academic performance, and reduction of absenteeism and bullying cases.
- To transfer the programme to EU and beyond by disseminating the results and learning and enabling the definition of innovative action plans for mental well-being in the youth.
The UPRIGHT project consists of 4 main building blocks:

1) Co-creation (co-design, co-production and co-customization) of the intervention in EU regions. During the months January to August 2018, a co-created manual of the intervention adapted to regional needs and comprising theory and dynamic exercises to train the UPRIGHT 4 components (coping, efficacy, social and emotional learning and mindfulness practice) was developed and printed in 7 different languages (English, Spanish, Basque, Italian, Polish, Icelandic and Danish).

2) Deployment of an innovative school-based resilience intervention. The intervention comprises two programmes deployed in two consecutive school years: Well-being for US and Well-being for ALL. The intervention is being implemented and evaluated twice, in a pool of first and second wave participants, and during three consecutive school years in total.

In addition to the co-created manual, additional supportive materials are also available (audios of mindfulness, videos summarizing the skills and PPT presentations). All information is uploaded in the UPRIGHT online platform (www.uprightprogram.eu) which serves as a training platform for families, a useful tool for teachers and a communication channel of UPRIGHT with the communities where it is being implemented. Activities and events organized for the Well-being for ALL programme are announced to the community via the online platform.

At the present moment, implementation of the first and second school years has been completed at all pilot sites. Additional mitigating measures and adaptations were implemented to curb the impact of the appearance of the COVID-19 and its consequences, during the course of the last trimester of the second school year. Second edition of the Well-being for US and adaptations in the 1st edition of the Well-being for ALL programmes have been done after analyzing the input from teachers, school directors, families and adolescents.
Third school year is currently ongoing.

3) Evaluation. Overall, 5,078 European youths accepted their participation (85% of the target of 5,992) and 3,767 responded the baseline questionnaires. An additional assessment during COVID-19 first outbreak was done to help us to interpret the effect of the pandemic on the adolescents' mental health.

4) The dissemination of the UPRIGHT project and results is currently an important task for the Consortium and presentations in different conferences, workshops and symposiums have been conducted. A synergy with the H2020 research project BOOST (GA no 755175) took place in Norway. A symposium was conducted in the IPPA Congress in Melbourne (Australia; 2019). An international workshop was organized in 2020 online and contribution in several networks are planned thanks to the External Advisory Board.
UPRIGHT project ambition is to be the first school based primary intervention programme that will create a real culture of promotion of mental health and well-being, targeting adolescents of 12-14 years of age. Co-creation methods ensured that the intervention took into account the diversity of the different regions in Europe; the intervention is adaptable to the different cultural needs in each region. UPRIGHT school-based intervention will provide effective person-centered care. It aims to be integrated into daily practice through a well-planned and evaluated implementation process. The aim is to achieve noteworthy progress in adolescent’s mental well-being.

Therefore, implementation of UPRIGHT intervention will directly improve the short-term mental well-being in nearly 3,000 youths (intervention group target). In addition, all students and the education professionals of the UPRIGHT participating schools (around 24,000 children from 6 to 16 years old) will benefit from the change of CULTURE in the schools. Co-design, co-production and co-customization of the UPRIGHT intervention guarantees that this diversity is preserved, avoiding any potential misunderstanding or rejection of the intervention by teachers, families and youths.

UPRIGHT expects to significantly reduce (around 25%) the number cases of bullying, discrimination and violence and contribute to reduce school and college/university dropouts. UPRIGHT preventive strategy aims to have a real effect of reducing the occurrence of mental disorders as well as co-morbidities associated later in life. The programme addresses and aims to change factors that directly impact mental health, such as unhealthy lifestyles, stress, anxiety and substance abuse.
UPRIGHT 5th Consortium Meeting ONLINE, 6-7 October 2020
Co-creation process for UPRIGHT intervention
UPRIGHT 4th Consortium in Bilbao (Spain), 6-7 February 2020
UPRIGHT 1st Meeting in Reykjavik (Iceland), 27-28 August 2018
UPRIGHT 2nd meeting in Trento (Italy), 6-7 February 2019
UPRIGHT 3rd Consortium in Trondheim (Norway), 25-26 June 2019
UPRIGHT training session with teachers
UPRIGHT kick of meeting in Bilbao (Basque Country-Spain), 16-17 January 2018