• More than a thousand students from fifteen pilot secondary schools of Xplore Health chose the topic. The participants identified stress and depression as the health problem that concerns them the most
• Four hundred and fifty students were engaged in participatory research projects "for them and with them" within a project called Healthy Mind. They collaborated with higher education students and scientists, from four research centres and universities
• The project ended with the presentation of the results in a congress held at CaixaForum Barcelona on May 20. In this event, students and researchers presented a Decalogue of recommendations, based on the results of the projects, to policy makers and representatives of NGOs working in the field of Mental Health
• The Healthy Mind project was carried out within the educational programme Xplore Health, jointly promoted by “la Caixa” Foundation and IrsiCaixa, with the collaboration of the Amgen Foundation and the European projects EnRRICH and RRI Tools
The Deputy General Director of "la Caixa" Banking Foundation, Elisa Duran; the Director of the Institute for AIDS Research - IrsiCaixa Bonaventura Clotet, and the coordinator of the Healthy Mind and Xplore Health projects Rosina Malagrida inaugurated at Caixa Forum Barcelona the final congress of the project Healthy Mind on May 20. This event brought together 450 young people who took part in participatory research projects.
The Healthy Mind is the first pilot project on Community Based Participatory Research of the Xplore Health programme, which is jointly promoted by "la Caixa" Baking Foundation and IrsiCaixa. This initiative started by analysing what was the health problem that most concerned around 1,000 students from 15 schools in Catalonia. The analyses pointed out stress and depression as their biggest concern and they were encouraged to find solutions to it using the scientific methodology.
Decalogue of recommendations to promote mental health:
The aim of Healthy Mind was to design and implement health interventions for students and with students, involving them in research and innovation projects. This engagement process in turn empowered them with the necessary skills of scientific reasoning to promote good health habits. The process culminated with the implementation of a methodology for participatory governance involving all the actors (experts in participatory methods, researchers, university students, high school students and teachers) to develop recommendations for a Decalogue (in Catalan) aimed at patient associations, as well as education and health policy makers in this field.
Xplore Health has developed Healthy Mind thanks to the collaboration of the European projects RRI Tools and EnRRICH, at a time when in Europe there is a growing concern to improve the relationship between science and society. This participatory educational intervention is pioneer in Spain and has been coordinated by the Unit of Public Engagement on Health Research at IrsiCaixa who also designed the methodologies for collective deliberation. It has also counted with the involvement of researchers and students from four research centres and universities: The Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), the Research Group on Health Sciences Education of the University Pompeu Fabra (UPF) and the Research Group on Health Sciences of the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Barcelona (UB). In addition, Patients' associations on Mental Health and policy makers from the Departments of Health and Education of Catalonia also participated during the process.
The methodologies used in Healthy Mind followed the quality standards of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and at the same time were inspired by the model of Science Shops, promoted from the ENRRICH project. These initiatives are promoted at European level, where methods such as Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR), open innovation and participatory governance are implemented. They also promote a greater collaboration between different stakeholders to cooperate throughout the process of research and innovation ensuring that the results are more in line with the needs and expectations of students.