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ACE

Where are we going ?!

What exciting have we done again in a few months? Good and very relevant question!

Training

In August, Piret Jeedas from MTÜ Ruumiloomine went to talk to us about inclusive management. We started by learning what this involvement is all about, but we also learned in the group the importance of the first moment and moving to a common wave. Perhaps one of the most important places to learn was the art of listening, or how to understand another person and listen deeply. Piret made us think about how much we often have to say, but how little we sometimes want to listen to others. And the same goes for asking questions - the more we ask open-ended, exploratory and forward-looking questions, the more likely we are to get a meaningful answer and convey the other party's ideas nicely.

What we can take from this is that we are all equal and the experience and opinion of all of us actually matters the same. We want to create more opportunities for co-creation and dialogue; we want all members to have the courage to pass on the message of our organization and no one feels that they are not involved in passing on that message. Here it is also appropriate to present the grain of wisdom that we received from the training:

"If it concerns us, it should not be done without us" - Tim Merry

Thanks to Piret for this interesting and eye-opening training!

                     And also a picture of our thoughts in the inclusive management training!

Development plan

We have been working on the development plan since April. We have set great focuses and milestones to achieve these focuses, but we have also been planning our activities for the next five years every month. How did we get there you ask? Still hard work and effort!

During June, July and August, we met with partners, gathering input from our members as well as other stakeholders (eg teachers, mental health professionals). We tried to understand how we are seen and what role ENVTL should play in society. We have met DD Stratlab several times on countless computers, under whose authority we have formulated four focuses that we will pursue in the organization for the next five years:

     Strategic implementation and outreach of expertise. Youth-to-youth outreach (both in the form of lectures on mental health in general and the sharing of experience stories more narrowly) is one of the main areas of activity for us. We want Estonian young people to be aware of the problems of mental health, but even more so of their prevention and how they can be successfully overcome. To do this, we take it and develop a plan on how to do it all strategically!

        Purposeful action. We will have many extremely interesting offers; no wonder then that our focus from time to time wants to go! So we have set ourselves the goal of making a little more specific action plans each year so that we can better coordinate our resources into those activities that are useful and necessary for our organization.

        Development of advocacy capacity. So far, we have been a little quieter in the field of advocacy, but we want to develop this capability. We want to have a say in shaping mental health policy and stand up for the rights and views of young people.

 Developing organizational culture. As the Estonian Youth Mental Health Movement is also a community for young people, we also want to maintain and improve it. We want the youth movement to be a place to make friends and share thoughts and feelings about mental health and related worries and joys.

The Active Citizens' Fund has helped us to implement inclusive management training and the development plan. Funded by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, the Active Citizens' Fund supports organizations to reduce economic and social inequalities in Central and Southern Europe as well as in the Baltics. The Estonian Youth Mental Health Movement has received funding for the project “Strategic Involvement of Young People in the Mental Health Movement”.

"Together greenstrong and inclusive For Europe. "

[ENG]

In August we had a workshop on the subject of inclusive management. We learned to value active listening and exploratory questioning. We also now know about the importance of getting in the right headspace / mindset through a ritual at the beginning of our meeting. 

The past few months have been very busy as we've been compiling a development plan for the next five years. Our 4 main goals for the following years are: (1) to strategically implement our youngsters who talk about their own experiences and about mental health related subjects in general; (2) acting goal-based; (3) developing the capacity of advocacy; and (4) developing the inner culture of the organization. To achieve all four goals, we will compile a plan of action at the beginning of each calendar year and mark specific actions that support the bigger goals.

“Working together for a greencompetitive and inclusive Europe ”

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ACE Category

What's new? // What & #039; s been new?

[Short summary in ENG below]


June was very busy and important in terms of the development of the ENVTL. In the first half of the month, media training took place, but in the second half we were able to spend the whole day discussing our vision, missions and strategy to reach them. The following is an overview of what happened at these two meetings.

Media training

Mental health issues have become more and more popular, and we have also tried to speak out in the media and on the Internet and share our thoughts and recommendations. However, the more widely our activities have spread and the membership has started to grow, the more we find that there is a lack of basic knowledge in the field of communication with the media.

Thus, on June 9, the first training series on media communication took place in the ENVTL Active Citizens' Foundation. We recruited the wonderful UT journalism lecturer Signe Ivaski as a trainer.

Some of the main thoughts that came out of the training:

  • When giving interviews, it is only worth answering the question - there is no need to answer more broadly than has been asked!
  • You should always think about which message I am going to give a presentation / give an interview / write an article and then keep the focus on the message. There should be no more than three messages in focus at a time!
  • People don't read the corrected news, so it's important to make sure it's what we said before you publish the story!

The first place we were able to use what we learned was a mini-campaign on eating disorders. To do this, we created a publishing plan and sought out several professionals and journalists who might want to work with us. The results of the work can be seen both on our blog and on the public wall of Facebook. In any case, our message was hopefully clear: the health behavior of athletes needs to be addressed and their physical and mental health taken seriously;.

Blog posts created as part of the media campaign:

  1. "Athlete's mental health is as important as physical" is here.
  2. "The risks of aesthetic sports can also be mitigated" here.
  3. "If you notice, talk" is located here.

The author of the mini-campaign on eating disorders is Merle Purre, the leader of the Estonian Youth Mental Health Movement. The stories were shared by the young people of ENVTL and Ailen Suurtee, a clinical psychologist and Peaasi.ee counselor and trainer, gave her comment.

 

The first meeting to draw up a development plan

On June 16, the group met with our leaders to start thinking and quietly put together a five-year development plan. The aim of the development plan is to make ENVTL more strategic and concentrated in order to ensure long-term operational capability. DD Stratlab helps us in the process of compiling the development plan, under whose guidance we have started to formulate our vision and mission and to collect opinions from our partners about our activities.

At the meeting, we formulated both our vision and goals. We held brainstorming sessions on the nature of our organization and possible developments (located at the end of the post picture 1 and picture 2 is our vision of an ideal mental health society). For the further preparation of the development plan, we mapped our main partners from whom we could start collecting input. During the summer, we meet with partners and discuss their and their own future plans and set what the partner organizations expect of us. During the summer, we will also become more familiar with reading materials that support the understanding of how mental health works. The deadline for completion of the development plan is December 2020.

Picture 1. The first group found that in an ideal world, both evidence-based approaches to mental health issues and mental health care should be based on an evidence-based approach. There would be regular mental health check-ups and all people would be valued - no one needs to feel that their experience needs to be compared to someone else's. At national level, young people would also be listened to and valued, because young people are our future.

Picture 2. The second group, like the first, thought that regular mental health checks / monitoring were needed to get to the section as early as possible if someone needed help. It was emphasized that people are more aware and follow the three "boring pillars" - that is, they get enough sleep, eat healthily and are physically active. In addition, it was pointed out that the increase in the number of specialists is in line with the need for them, and society believes that mental health disorders exist, although they are not visible to the naked eye.

The completion of the media training and development plan is supported by the Active Citizens' Fund. Funded by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, the Active Citizens' Fund supports organizations to reduce economic and social inequalities in Central and Southern Europe as well as in the Baltics. The Estonian Youth Mental Health Movement has received funding for the project "Strategic Involvement of Young People in the Mental Health Movement."

"Together greenstrong and inclusive For Europe. "


[ENG]
The month of June has been very dense for ENVTL (an acronym used to refer to the Estonian Youth Movement for Mental Health). Firstly, on the 9th of June, we had a workshop about communicating with media and how to compile a media plan. From the knowledge we gained from the workshop, we composed a minicampaing about eating disorders. Posts on the subject can be found on our blog.
On the 16th of June we had a meeting with DD Stralab to start drawing up a development plan for the next five years. The purpose of the development plan is to act strategically and ensure sustainable activities in the future.

“Working together for a green, competitive and inclusive Europe ”



 

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ACE Category

Eating Disorders, Sports and Coaches: vol. 3

If you notice, talk!

This is the third post in a series aimed at draw attention to the possible - positive or negative - impact that the coach may have on the young athlete's mental health and future. We want to raise the awareness of both coaches and parents that a coach working with children needs not only personal experience as an athlete, but also knowledge about young people's development, mental health and its support.

If you are worried about your own or your loved one's mental health, you can find information about problems and help options on the pages Peaasi.ee and Lahendus.net. Here you will find information eating disorders and recommendations for coaches and athletes. The department focusing on the treatment of eating disorders is like that At the Psychiatric Clinic of the University of Tartu if Tallinn Children's Hospital.

Today we present you with the coach who supports the experience of Eliis Grigori. Based on her experience with an eating disorder, Eliis has written a gripping and educational book, “Taped Mouth. The girl who stopped eating ”. 


The story of Elisha 

I was 14 when I was diagnosed Anorexia nervosa - by that time I had been engaged in group gymnastics for half of my life. Although group gymnastics had a huge impact, the trainer was one of the first people in my story to notice my (sudden) change.

Due to my physiological peculiarities, I was never able to compete in classic group gymnastics competitions, which is why I lost the typical competition experience and the previous one: shiny leotard, strong makeup, adrenaline in the veins when the carpet is in front of the jury. At that moment, it didn't bother me, I took it as an opportunity to train my body more gracefully and get good posture for the rest of my life. However, when I was 12 years old, I injured myself outside the training mat and had to recover from the trauma for a few months, and the following year I could not train as intensely as before. At the age when my body began to develop into an adult and the training load suddenly changed, I underwent changes that stood out compared to other training companions. Initially, it didn't bother me, the change took place quietly and unnoticed, until I heard a few comments (both from training classmates and outside the mat) that meant that I was different from others in my body. I began to notice my physical differences with others — wider hips, breasts, rounder arms, and faces — and I began to compare myself more and more closely to others, and I had a growing belief that everyone around me saw me as overweight. In addition to my body, I was also affected by the previously described parts of gymnastics, which I was and always knew I would lose. And that's where the diet began, which led me to extreme contempt for my body. But the coaches I always looked up from never told me that my body did not meet gymnastics standards. But in my head I believed that they could see nothing but me in my body.

My diet peaked in the summer when I was 14 years old. I completely cut myself out of social life, which also meant that I did not participate in summer training camps. But in the autumn I had to rejoin social life - it also meant training.

My coach didn't notice me as soon as I entered the hall, but when the warm-up started and we ran around the carpet, he said, "Elisha has changed so much!" There was no admiration or pride in his voice, but rather fright and his statement caused pride and shame in me at the same time. That evening, the coach called my mother to find out if she was aware of my situation. He had told my mother, "The change has been too abrupt." That's where my journey toward recovery began — noticing and caring for concern.


Comments by Ailen Suurtee, clinical psychologist, Peaasi.ee counselor; Children's Mental Health Center.

Qualities other than weight should be valued in the child, it should not be the focus of life or sports. It is also important for a child to know that he or she is not valuable to anyone because of his or her weight or some body shape traits, but counts other traits. However, supporting the body to be able to play sports in good health is certainly largely the responsibility of the parent:

  • provide balanced food at home (where there is no good or bad food in itself);
  • contribute to a regular eating habit and confidence that the body's signals of hunger and fullness are important;
  • knowledge of how to share their concerns so that they are listened to; and that it is possible to cope with one's heavy emotions in ways other than overeating, restricting one's diet, and so on.

In a child's crushed mood and withdrawal, it is important to find time to talk in a quiet, peaceful moment. You could describe in a neutral way what you have noticed about the child's condition that has changed. The parent could calmly express his or her emotions (eg, “I am worried / scared”) and listen, without judgment or dispute, to how the child reacts, what thoughts he or she has. It doesn't always come out the first time, so it's definitely worth trying again. Eating disorders are diseases that on the one hand are clearly harmful and dangerous, but on the other hand (weight loss, attention, compliments, a feeling of self-control) it is difficult to give up and acknowledge that help is needed. It is important not to praise for weight loss, but always give positive feedback on other characteristics that are not related to weight. It is also not good to praise weight gain in the treatment process, but rather a more regular, varied diet.

The relationship between the coach, the child and the family should be reciprocal, and as parents it is important to make sure that the coach stands in the best interests of the child. The coach can be a vital member of the treatment team and a great support in the child's return to daily life. In case of difficulties, communication and a trusting relationship between all parties are important.


How could it be even better? 
Coaches and parents have opportunity related to certain sports mental health risks - but unfortunately also amplified to the same extent. This means that it is important for these adults to be aware of mental health problems, opportunities for help and support, and also how these problems are treated. But how many trainers perceive their role as a preventor or enhancer of eating disorders?
As a coach, you have to be extremely attentive to your statements. It is also very important to know the dangers of eating disorders and the first signs of the disease. The trainer must be able to distinguish between a healthy training routine and its obsession (if the athlete is very satisfied with the weight loss or wants to achieve extreme success at any cost).
The General Affairs Team has put together recommendations for athletes and coaches to work together to better prevent eating disorders and support athletes who have a dietary concern.
You can find these suggestions here: https://peaasi.ee/treeneritele-ja-sportlastele/


If you also want to share your story and invitation to coaches or parents on our youth movement blog, send it to tere@envtl.ee. If you wish, we can leave your experience completely anonymous.


The post has been compiled by: Merle Purre, leader of the Estonian Youth Mental Health Movement and a member of the Peaasi.ee team.


The completion of the mini-campaign on eating disorders has been supported by the Active Citizens' Fund. Funded by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, the Active Citizens' Fund supports organizations to reduce economic and social inequalities in Central and Southern Europe as well as in the Baltics. The Estonian Youth Mental Health Movement has received funding for the project "Strategic Involvement of Young People in the Mental Health Movement."

"Together greenstrong and inclusive For Europe. "

 

Categories
ACE Category

Eating Disorders, Sports and Coaches: vol. 2

The risks of aesthetic sports can also be mitigated

This is the second post in a series aimed at highlighting the potential - positive or negative - impact that a coach may have on the young athlete's mental health and future. We want to raise the awareness of both coaches and parents that a coach working with children needs not only personal experience as an athlete, but also knowledge about young people's development, mental health and its support. 

If you are worried about your own or your loved one's mental health, you can find information about problems and help options on the pages Peaasi.ee and Lahendus.net. Here you will find information eating disorders and recommendations for coaches and athletes. The department focusing on the treatment of eating disorders is like that At the Psychiatric Clinic of the University of Tartu if Tallinn Children's Hospital.

In a previous post we introduced the link between eating disorders and certain sports and published the first experience story of a young person. Today we present you the story of Riina (whose name has been changed to maintain anonymity).  


Riina story 

Group gymnastics has been a very big part of my life, which I started at the age of 4 and was forced to finish at the age of 15. I'm 18 now. I've been thinking a lot about when my problems started, but I haven't found a definite answer yet - I still didn't realize for a long time that I was sick and my mental health was out of order. I think that monitoring my diet started around the time I was 14 and I started to become a woman, or my body started to change. However, this was unacceptable to me, of course, because I believed that gymnasts had to be perfect and whip-thin.

So I started to eat "healthier" at first (didn't eat sweets, etc.) and I lost weight, but it wasn't so drastic at first. However, this "healthy" diet started to get worse and deeper, and the real push was given to me when the coach told us before the summer holidays that we would not eat too much in the summer. He had previously commented on the gymnasts of the opposing team that they were quite large and could even be said to be fat. But it seemed to me that these other girls were not much different from me. It automatically seemed to me that I was also too big. All 1.5 months we didn't have a workout in the summer, I thought of only one thing - my weight number. I started to limit myself very strictly, weighed myself almost 20 times a day, moved and exercised as much as possible, while eating minimally.

All this did not go unnoticed by my parents - due to the very low weight, other health problems began to appear. I was taken to a pediatrician, from where I was soon referred to a psychiatric clinic, where I was diagnosed with anorexia. I was wanted to be hospitalized right away, but since I had a race coming up, we agreed with my doctor that I would reduce my workload and eat properly. Unfortunately, I could not keep that promise. When it was time to go back to training, I had lost quite a bit of weight and almost no strength or mood. It caught the eye of others as well. After I went to see a psychiatrist and was under his attention, my parents also told my coach about my problem. At first he seemed very reasonable, but soon I didn't think so. In the beginning, the trainer started weighing me before each workout and did not let me train until I had gained at least 100 grams. But it was very difficult for me because my only wish was for me to lose weight and I didn't want to see it rise. However, the fact that he constantly weighed me only pushed me into more corners, and I wanted to lose even more weight.

So he didn't let me work out for several weeks because I didn't gain weight. I remember exactly how he almost shouted very aggressively before one workout, why I didn't take in, why I just didn't eat, and that I was losing the whole group. It was incomprehensible to him why I couldn't just start eating. It was a very difficult moment for me, because if it were so easy to "just eat", I would have done it. I already felt so bad in my body, I had a hard time dealing with my thoughts and I was so unhappy. His comment that I was disappointing everyone made me feel completely worthless and rather lowered my motivation. He was trying to heal my body. He had the understanding that if I was of normal weight, all was well. However, the main problem was in my head. About a week after that, I went to the doctor again and then it was decided to put me in the hospital because my situation was very bad. However, the fact that I went to the hospital meant that I could not take part in the European Championships. At first, it seemed to me again that the coach is rather supportive - maybe I will finally realize when I am in the hospital that I have a problem and need to act. After a while, however, I heard from my classmates how the coach had told them that I was under the whole group and that he didn't have a motherly love for me, he couldn't deal with the problem and he couldn't do good here anymore. My coach called my classmates to be stricter with me. It was a real turning point for me because I was already in the hospital, alone, I had a hard fight with myself every day and the only thing I worked for was sports. However, hearing that my coach and my teammates don't believe in me, and that it's more important to them that I train and compete than to get really healthy, was a very strong blow and led me to a very low point. I felt that I had no point in trying and no one appreciated my efforts and most importantly - no one understood me. After this incident, my parents also went to talk to the coach to explain the situation a bit (I had to be in the hospital longer than originally planned), but the whole coach was offended. After that, it seemed even more to me that the coach was completely indifferent to me. When I got out of the hospital, I had a strict ban on training, and frankly, I didn't have much desire for it either, because I felt like I wasn't expected to go there. The coach wrote to me only once during my stay in the hospital, and we haven't communicated anymore since. He doesn't even say "hello" to me on the street. 

My coach was 21 at the time and had no coach training. He had previously done gymnastics himself and trained us based on his own experience. I think he played a very important role in the development of my eating disorder. I believe that one important indicator is that, in addition to me, two more girls in our group have been diagnosed with anorexia. I think it is very important for the coach to be trained so that he can guide the athletes and approach them correctly, because the way he approached my eating disorder only made me worse off. I didn't get any support at all, his recommendation was that "you need to eat more". Because he had no knowledge of eating disorders and children's psyche, he did not know that such an attitude would lead nowhere, and that his aggressive attitude was pushing me more and more.

If in the beginning going to a psychiatrist was like a punishment for me, then in fact, now in retrospect, I probably wouldn't have been able to do without it. The hospital experience was also very important. I got two girlfriends from there, who were a great support to me and with whom I still communicate. The psychologist was also a great help to me. It is very important to be someone who can be talked about, and especially good if you are a professional in your field. In addition, I was very much supported by the environmental exchange, I went to high school and met new people there, who had a completely different relationship with nutrition than gymnasts. I also felt much freer myself and did not feel any tension that someone was watching my diet, etc. Right now, I know that I have people who support me and I can always turn to professionals when needed. I can now understand for myself when I feel that things are going downhill again.

I would very much like to make it clear to all coaches that personal experience with sports alone is not enough, but it is definitely necessary to learn a little about communicating with and understanding children. I believe my story would have been different if my coach had been aware of eating disorders. Also, if the coach notices changes in some children - weight loss, bad mood, little strength - be sure to act and talk to the child. There must be trust, not tension, between the student and the coach. Under no circumstances should a sick person be pressured or angry with you (you are not angry or frustrated with a person who has pneumonia, for example). Instead, you have to support it, and if you can't help yourself, let the doctors do it. Health is more important than any outcome, and mental illness is as serious as any other illness and injury.

Even today - almost 3 years after being in the hospital - I have days when I feel bad in my body, when I don't want to eat, when bad thoughts come to mind. Thoughts are especially dense in more difficult moments when there is another problem. Most of the days, however, I'm happy because I've learned to focus on more important things than weight or food. I like sports very much, it makes me feel good and I do sports exactly according to my inner feelings. 

I have known my body to learn and I know when I need a break and when I want more physical effort. I have made peace with myself and I do not pursue ideals, because everyone is really special and beautiful just the way they are - and there are so many more important things in life than chasing insane numbers, counting calories and spending. This is an understanding that took me more than three years to reach, and yet there are still more difficult days. However, this is still a big step forward, and I try a lot to surround myself with good people and do nice things so that horrible thoughts of visiting me as rarely as possible.


Comments Ailen Suurtee, clinical psychologist, Peaasi.ee counselor; Children 's Mental Health Center / Children' s Hospital.

Sports enthusiasts who focus on body weight and shape are clearly at higher risk of eating disorders. The coach's and parent's awareness of mental health and its support is therefore particularly important in these disciplines. While elite sports involve great effort and ambition, mental health should not be sacrificed; just as physical sports injuries are sought to be prevented, so should mental health. With problems. For parents of children with a high risk of eating disorders, it is important to monitor their own attitudes and help the child to develop the attitude that a holistic healthy approach is important, not sporting achievements at any cost.

For children, whether they are athletes or not, it is important to be aware of their health, mood and body condition, and to notice the changes. Changes may occur suddenly or over time. It is more common for a child to lose weight too quickly and a lot. It can be seen that the child avoids common meals or certain foods he or she ate before (more often fat, sweet). In some children, an eating disorder may manifest itself not so much as starvation as as seizures, which may result in vomiting of food or excessive exercise. Traces of it or empty food packaging, plates can be found, which show large amounts of food eaten secretly. An important sign is continuous and obsessive training, where in addition to the basic training, too much extra load can be taken at home. Often the mood is grumpy or depressed, leaving out social life and other life challenges.

It is also important to know that if you lose weight very quickly, you need to reduce or stop the training load and seek help from specialists. In the treatment of eating disorders, the best option is to join a specialized team of psychiatrists, nurses, psychologists, family therapists. The family plays an extremely important role in the child's healing, and it is important to look at the parent's own relationship with food and weight in the treatment process.

 


How could it be better? 
Coaches and parents have opportunity related to certain sports mental health risks - but unfortunately also amplified to the same extent. This means that it is important for these adults to be aware of mental health problems, opportunities for help and support, and also how these problems are treated. But how many trainers perceive their role as a preventor or enhancer of eating disorders?
As a coach, you have to be extremely attentive to your statements. It is also very important to know the dangers of eating disorders and the first signs of the disease. The trainer must be able to distinguish between a healthy training routine and its obsession (if the athlete is very satisfied with the weight loss or wants to achieve extreme success at any cost).
The General Affairs Team has put together recommendations for athletes and coaches to work together to better prevent eating disorders and support athletes who have a dietary concern.
You can find these suggestions here: https://peaasi.ee/treeneritele-ja-sportlastele/


If you also want to share your story and invitation to coaches or parents on our youth movement blog, send it to tere@envtl.ee. If you wish, we can leave your experience completely anonymous.


The post has been compiled by: Merle Purre, leader of the Estonian Youth Mental Health Movement and a member of the Peaasi.ee team.


The completion of the mini-campaign on eating disorders has been supported by the Active Citizens' Fund. Funded by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, the Active Citizens' Fund supports organizations to reduce economic and social inequalities in Central and Southern Europe as well as in the Baltics. The Estonian Youth Mental Health Movement has received funding for the project "Strategic Involvement of Young People in the Mental Health Movement."

"Together greenstrong and inclusive For Europe. "

Categories
ACE Category

Eating Disorders, Sports and Coaches: vol. 1

An athlete's mental health is as important as his or her physical health

Recently, eating disorders have come to the fore in the media. We in the Estonian Youth Mental Health Movement are pleased that taboo topics are receiving attention and societal attitudes towards people with these health problems are shifting towards greater understanding and awareness. 

Sometimes, however, good aspirations give unexpected setbacks. In this way, both ENVTL's young people and like-minded people from the Peaasi.ee team were crushed, reading the experience of figure skater Johanna Allik. create at a comment from a figure skating coach. From a coach who has been training since childhood, and to whom many young people and parents have certainly looked with respect so far. Each coach has a responsibility to support and protect the health of each child and young person in his or her training, both in terms of mental and physical health. Unfortunately, sometimes it seems that we are not sufficiently aware of our influence, and that is what we want to pay attention to. Our goal is to raise the awareness of both coaches and parents that A coach working with children needs not only personal experience as an athlete but also knowledge of the young person's development and mental health.

We want to bring to light the experiences of three young people and thoughts, to reveal what impact - positive or negative - the coach may have on the young athlete's mental health and future. To open the topic appropriately, we first introduce the relationship between eating disorders and certain sports. 

If you are worried about your own or your loved one's mental health, you can find information about problems and help options on the pages Peaasi.ee and Lahendus.net. Here you will find information eating disorders and recommendations for coaches and athletes. The department focusing on the treatment of eating disorders is like that At the Psychiatric Clinic of the University of Tartu if Tallinn Children's Hospital.

Sports with a mental health risk

Eating disorders are characterized by a situation in which a person's daily eating is severely disrupted; thoughts and feelings revolve largely eating (or its limitation), diet and own body weight and shape around. Eating disorders are very serious mental health problems, being among the most life-threatening mental disorders¹, because it is very difficult for both body and mind to cope with nutrient deficiencies.

There are a number of risk factors that increase the likelihood of eating disorders - some are general and others are specific to sport. Factors covered by the general risk factors are: biological (eg heredity, pubertal-related physical-hormonal changes), psychological (eg low self - esteem, perfectionism) and socio-cultural perhaps due to those around us (eg peer pressure, bullying, media influence). 

Studies have shown that athletes have impaired eating behavior and eating disorders for about three times more than in the general population³. In turn, it is among athletes higher risk for professional athletes (compared to hobby athletes), especially for female athletes. However, it is clear that in areas where it is important to start training as early as possible, in childhood, both future peaks and enthusiasts train side by side. The health of all of them deserves to be protected, and the task of a coach working with children should not be to "separate the grains from the barn", but to support and develop the mental and physical health of every young person who trains under his or her guidance.

Certain sports have special features that make eating disorders more likely to occur or worsen. There is a higher risk in sports where there are, for example, weight classes for competition, where low weight is considered an advantage or where the visual side (so-called aesthetic areas) is important in assessing performance and the appearance of the athlete also receives special attention. All of them can be considered weight-sensitive sports. Weight classes can be found in weightlifting and various martial arts, for example. Aesthetic sports include, for example, beauty and group gymnastics, figure skating and water jumping. As these sports are already inherently higher risk, it becomes even more important the coach's ability to ground them (but to the same extent, unfortunately also to raise).

But why do these sports increase the risk of eating disorders? They contribute to this several factors related to training and competitions: frequent weight measurement, pressure to lose weight, early start with sports-specific training, sports rules; as well as injuries, overtraining, and coach behavior and impact. All of these can contribute to the fact that getting an athlete through their body, weight and diet is not healthy. The stories of the three young people clearly illustrate the potential impact of these factors. In the first post, we publish Lea's story (the name has been changed to maintain anonymity).  


Lea story

When I was three, my parents enrolled me in a gym training. Finally, I worked on it for six long years until my parents gave in and allowed me to quit training.

It was preceded by a lot of persuasion, crying and controversy, as both my parents and my coach expected more from me than I could offer them. Gymnastics is an area where a lot is expected of those who see potential. Therefore, perhaps I should take it as a compliment that my coach called me a traitor after I left in front of the whole troupe.

There were several reasons for my great desire to get out of training. My trainer was a young, courageous and very confident woman with the goal of raising successful gymnasts for many of us. He did not hold back any remarks that he thought could be useful to us. So when I was quite young, I was convinced that skinny people are beautiful and good, and fat people are ugly and evil. None of my ballet books had thick ballerinas and all the gymnasts, including my trainer, were skinny. We were not allowed to "walk like elephants" and we always had to keep our babysitters inside. The thinner children from my troupe were always at the forefront of the plans and the slightly older children at the back.

These remarks also affected me years after I finished gymnastics. As a child, I was always convinced that I was too fat, and I constantly whimpered about it. I'm the biggest sweet-lover in the world, but I always felt bad every time I ate any candy. After overcoming my eating disorder at the age of 17 with the help of two psychologists, I realized that my relationship with food and my body had never been healthy or normal. 

Social media, my family's remarks about my body or eating, and extremely low self-esteem were all the culprits of my eating disorder. However, I feel that the culmination of me was the way my trainer treated me and my teammates. If I were to meet my then coach at the age of 20 now, I would probably feel as insecure as I was when I was 7 years old. If coaches have faith in their students and a desire to raise them into good athletes, it would be more beneficial to support, guide and encourage them. A good coach is one whose students respect him, not afraid.

How could it be better? 
Coaches and parents have opportunity related to certain sports mental health risks - but unfortunately also amplified to the same extent. This means that it is important for these adults to be aware of mental health problems, opportunities for help and support, and also how these problems are treated. But how many trainers perceive their role as a preventor or enhancer of eating disorders?
As a coach, you have to be extremely attentive to your statements. It is also very important to know the dangers of eating disorders and the first signs of the disease. The trainer must be able to distinguish between a healthy training routine and its obsession (if the athlete is very satisfied with the weight loss or wants to achieve extreme success at any cost). 
The General Affairs Team has put together recommendations for athletes and coaches to work together to better prevent eating disorders and support athletes who have a dietary concern. 
You can find these suggestions here: https://peaasi.ee/treeneritele-ja-sportlastele/

If you also want to share your story and invitation to coaches or parents on our youth movement blog, send it to tere@envtl.ee. If you wish, we can leave your experience completely anonymous. 


References:
¹ According to research, the most mortal mental disorders are eating disorders (especially anorexia) and addiction disorders. A meta-analysis summarizing the results of a large number of studies found here.
² A research article on the prevalence of eating disorders in athletes and risk factors found here.
³ Scientific articles comparing the prevalence of eating disorders in athletes and the general population can be found from here and from here.


Author of the post: Merle Purre, leader of the Estonian Youth Mental Health Movement and member of the Peaasi.ee team.


The completion of the mini-campaign on eating disorders has been supported by the Active Citizens' Fund. Funded by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, the Active Citizens' Fund supports organizations to reduce economic and social inequalities in Central and Southern Europe as well as in the Baltics. The Estonian Youth Mental Health Movement has received funding for the project "Strategic Involvement of Young People in the Mental Health Movement."

"Together greenstrong and inclusive For Europe. "

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What will 2020 bring us?

Dear friends and acquaintances of the Estonian Youth Movement for Mental Health (ENVTL)!

We are delighted to announce that we have received support from the Active Citizens Fund this year!

Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are monetarily contributing to the ACF to decrease economic and social inequality in Central Europe, Southern Europe and the Baltics. Estonian Youth Movement for Mental Health applied for the funding of the project “Strategic Involvement of Young People in the Mental Health Movement.” (Strategic inclusion of the youth into the mental health movement).

In the course of the project, a development plan ensuing the sustainability of the organization will be prepared. As a youth organization, we do not have any set of long-term plans. Additionally, we lack the skills or knowledge to make such plans. We wish to grow our membership, but also learn how to better involve our members. We will review the vision and goals of our organization and how to aid their fulfillment.

Keeping the position of ENVTL as a representative of the youth in mind, we plan to organize four training sessions that would help our members better navigate in the complicated field of advocacy. These training sessions will provide our members with the skills to speak up in the matters of project management and communication within ENVTL, as well as with additional skills for their personal lives.

Thanks to this project, we can offer free peer support counseling for our members throughout this year. A peer support counselor is a appropriately trained expert who has personal experience in the field of psychiatric disorders and who can help support our youths throughout their journey and guide them to find professional help.

ENVTL wishes to provide a community that supports mental health, where it would be possible to attain and improve one's own skills in a safe environment.

The project will run through April 2020 to May 2021. Any questions can be directed towards Birgit Malken at birgit@envtl.ee.

“Working together for a green, competitive and inclusive Europe. "


Categories
ACE Category

What will 2020 bring to ENVTL?

Dear ENVTL friends and acquaintances!

We are most pleased to announce that we received support from the Active Citizens' Fund this year!

Funded by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, the Active Citizens' Fund supports organizations to reduce economic and social inequalities in Central and Southern Europe as well as in the Baltics. The Estonian Youth Mental Health Movement (ENVTL) applied for funding for the project "Strategic Involvement of Young People in the Mental Health Movement."

In the course of the project, a development plan ensuring the sustainability of the organization will be completed. As a young organization, we do not have long-term plans in place, nor do we have the skills to make those plans. We want to grow our membership, but at the same time learn to involve our members more. We review what the vision and goals of our organization are and how to facilitate their fulfillment.

With a view to the Estonian Youth Mental Health Movement as a voice for young people in society, we are organizing four trainings that would help our members to better orient themselves in the complex landscape of advocacy. These trainings provide members with the skills to speak more in project management and communication issues at ENVTL, as well as additional skills in personal life.

Thanks to the project, we can offer our members background experience counseling this year. An experienced counselor is a trained person who has experience of a mental disorder and who can support young people on their journey and help them seek professional help.

ENVTL wants to provide a community that supports mental health, where it is possible to realize and develop one's skills in a safe environment.

The project will run from April 2020 to the end of May 2021. If you have any questions about the project, please contact Birgit Malken birgit@envtl.ee.

"Together green, strong and inclusive For Europe. "

 

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