Implementation of theFRIENDS-program in Finnish schools – experiences and research The 10th Nordic Public Health Conference, 25.8.2011 Friends-session 15.45-17.15 Friends-planner Nina Aartokallio Children of the Station
Children of the StationBasic task of Children of the Station is to further the healthy growth of the youth as well as to prevent social exclusion, violence, crime and misuse of intoxicants.Our organization aims to enhance the well- being of children, youth and families.
BackgroundWhy do we need Friends-programs?In Finland about 15 to 20 % of school-aged children suffer from some kind of mental disorderSocial exclusion, loneliness, risky behavior, eating disorders, not enjoying school etc. are our actual concerns
Friends-program in FinlandTwo full-time workers – running trainings in Finnish and Swedish (about 20 per year)At the moment Friends for children (2006) and Friends for youth (2008)Fun Friends (age 4-7) pilot in 2012.Children of the Station has trained about 1850 professionals working in schools and with youthOver 17 000 pupils have participated in the program since 2006
Friends-program in FinlandUsed in classroom setting in order to avoid stigmatizationExploiting the multioccupational knowledge: teachers, school nurses, school psychologists, social workers, youth leaders etc.Also used with immigrant pupils and 10th- graders
Research made in FinlandIn co-operation with National Institute of Health and Welfare (2006-2007).- The aim was to test how the program fits into Finnish school system and to measure the prevalence of pupils´ anxiety and depression symptoms. Tiippana (2009) examined the effect of the Friends- program on depression, anxiety and self-esteem (total of 610 youngsters).
Experiences and feedbackTrainers have been satisfied with our one-day training and materials – easy to useSome schools have Friends as a part of the curriculumAmount of time in classroom and parental involvementCo-operation partners and networks are important
Future plans and goals All Friends-programs available in Finnish and SwedishIncrease the amount of participating schoolsSecure fundingMore research in FinlandMore co-operation in Finland and internationally
Pupil:” I’ve learnt to believe in myself. In some exciting situations I’ve learnt to use helpful thoughts”Teacher:“Attitude towards my students changed as I gained more knowledge about my pupils. I learnt to see their individual strenghts.”Parent:“It’s important for the adolescents to notice that others have the similar feelings of shame or embarrassment and that they’re not by themselves with their feelings. “