Project Report: Fortifying the mental health and emotional resilience of Georgia’s young people

SGS 2023 Grantee: Partnership for Education and Communication (PEC), Georgia

Project: Improving Youth Mental Health through Emotional resilience

Here is their report:

According to Geostat (National Statistics Office, 2020), 66.3% of children aged 1-4 have experienced psychological abuse, and 30.6% physical abuse in their families in Georgia. Despite recognising the importance of fully supporting the mental health and well-being of adolescents and young people, especially from vulnerable communities, there are no state policies, action plans, implementation mechanisms or prevention services available in Georgia for those at risk of mental health conditions and/or survivors of violence. The pandemic and its restrictions and the war in Ukraine invoked the traumas of the 2008 Russian invasion in Georgia and had a negative impact on children and young people’s mental health and well-being, which still continues to weigh heavily. In 2022, with the support of The BEARR Trust, PEC conducted a resilience assessment among staff and volunteers. 76% of volunteers aged 15-24 questioned mentioned that they lack emotional resilience, which has a negative effect on their health, performance in daily life and wellbeing, Indeed, young people from rural areas, youngsters living below the poverty line, ethnic minorities and abuse survivors are the most vulnerable groups, lacking any information and support on mental health issues.

The project supported by The BEARR TRUST aimed to improve youth mental health by strengthening emotional resilience. The project’s objectives were to develop tactics for fostering resilience and to raise awareness and enhance the skills of young people, the community and decision-makers in order to improve mental health and social well-being.

In order to develop guidance based on the needs of local young people, PEC in partnership with the NGO Women’s Democracy Network of Georgia conducted four focus groups working on the development of a handbook for vulnerable youth in Samegrelo, Guria, Shida and Kvemo Kartli regions using the resilience health check tool to identify key thematic topics and local examples for the guidance. Based on the findings from the focus groups, a handbook was developed through the involvement of expert consultants from both PEC and WDNG. The handbook covered topics with local examples on: mental health as a positive resource and skill that we can teach, learn, support, and strengthen; tools to promote the emotional resilience of young people; how to raise a concern with a young person, how to support them and to find help if necessary. The handbook also provided information on the platform, through which interested youngsters from vulnerable communities could receive free online counselling from a psychologist on emotional resilience.

In order to build the capacities of local youth and community workers, PEC conducted TOT (training of trainers) training on youth emotional resilience for 20 local youth and community leaders from Samegrelo, Guria, Shida and Kvemo Kartli regions, preparing them for information campaigning and outreach in local communities. Trained youth community workers conducted outreach with information sessions and awareness-raising campaigns in these regions. Due to the demand from young locals, an additional campaign was held in Imereti region which was the target region for a previous PEC project supported by The BEARR Trust and already had visibility among local youth.

During these information sessions peer educators increased local vulnerable young people’s knowledge of emotional resilience based on the materials and handbook provided by PEC’s mentors. In order to ensure high quality sessions, educators were mentored and coached online by PEC. During campaigns community workers disseminated leaflets with information and tips for emotional resilience corresponding to the abbreviation of the word “Resilience” in Georgian „მედეგობა“ and provided information counselling in local communities. At least 360 vulnerable young people were reached in this way, along with a social media campaign through digital storytelling regarding youth mental health and wellbeing. The social media campaign involved videos with digital storytelling by community workers and beneficiaries, and informational graphic videos, info posters regarding youth mental health and wellbeing, emotional resilience and advocating for support services in municipalities. Through the social media campaigns we try to ensure wider access to project results and achievements, best practices and lessons learned for general society in Georgia. It was the first time in Georgia that brief info materials on emotional resilience were developed in the Georgian language for local young people with the support of The BEARR Trust. All resources for young people interested in emotional resilience, and infographics are available on our webpage.

In addition to awareness-raising and capacity-building, another aspect of the project focused on service provision, PEC provided free digital youth mental health counselling for project beneficiaries by a psychologist on the platform is a distance counselling and networking hub and the most effective way to get information on existing opportunities and local and international resources, engage with youth groups, mentors and decision-makers through mentoring programmes and take real-time advice from them. Mentors also track the implementation of action plans and provide real-time informational assistance.

Another part of the project focused on advocacy for support to youth mental health services. PEC provided digital free mental health counselling for project beneficiaries by a psychologist on the platform as well as mentoring local community workers to develop policy recommendations for local self-government structures.

Goga Beridze, Guria region:

“When I moved from the village to Tbilisi (I am originally from the Guria region), I had a moment when I got lost, it was difficult for me to adapt to the environment. I received information from PEC’s TOT training. It was a life-changing experience. The toolkit for emotional resilience helped me to find strength in myself, as a result of which I adapted to the environment, I learned about emotional resilience, what a great role it plays and what a powerful tool it, so I believe that if we young people focus on what we have a problem with and what is wrong with us, we will solve problems, we will become stronger and more self-confident through that emotional support, and success will not be delayed.”

We expect to continue supporting the project beneficiaries through the online mentoring and resource sharing platform, to replicate the first part of project (training) in other municipalities as well as the second part (online networking and counselling platform). This is already available and accessible throughout Georgia. As for advocacy we expect to have our recommendations considered by the Government of Georgia and the Youth Agency and a youth mental health supporting programmes to be included in the new national Youth Policy Action Plan 2024-2025 under the second objective “Youth Health and Wellbeing”.


Zhaneta Kilasonia

Executive Director

Partnership for Education and Communication (PEC)


Phone: +995 577311377

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