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Podcast

The role of community in shaping the mental health of young people

In this podcast episode, Footsteps contributors from different parts of the world discuss how to help young people thrive

2021

How to build community - a podcast series with Arukah Network
How to build community - a podcast series with Arukah Network

From: How to build community

A podcast series for anyone wanting to help their community to thrive 

About this episode

Using examples from their different contexts, Ivan Monzon Muñoz from Guatemala, Samer Raad George from Iraq, Karla Jordan from the USA and Vincent Ogutu and Rachel Kitavi from Kenya discuss how communities can help shape and support the mental health of young people.

You can read more about their work in the January 2021 edition of Footsteps magazine on mental health and well-being.

Podcast highlights

  • Ivan, a social psychologist in Guatemala says, ‘Many young people feel very alone and disconnected from their families. They just need to have someone to talk to. If young people feel that they actively belong to a community, such as a church, it will make a huge difference to the way they respond to crises and mental health problems.’

    One way to build this sense of community is by bringing young people together in support groups where they can talk, socialise and take part in different activities. This is a key part of Vincent and Rachel’s work in Kenya.

    Vincent says, ‘The young people support each other in their different businesses and as they grow in confidence they become mental health advocates - breaking down stigma and making mental health something that people are less afraid to talk about.’  

    Ivan, a social psychologist in Guatemala says, ‘Many young people feel very alone and disconnected from their families. They just need to have someone to talk to. If young people feel that they actively belong to a community, such as a church, it will make a huge difference to the way they respond to crises and mental health problems.’

    One way to build this sense of community is by bringing young people together in support groups where they can talk, socialise and take part in different activities. This is a key part of Vincent and Rachel’s work in Kenya.

    Vincent says, ‘The young people support each other in their different businesses and as they grow in confidence they become mental health advocates - breaking down stigma and making mental health something that people are less afraid to talk about.’  

  • It can be difficult for young people to admit that they are struggling with their mental health, and it takes time to build trust.

    Rachel says, ‘When we first started the support groups the young people were very quiet. Until they learn to trust you they are not going to say anything about their condition because of the way they are treated in society. So I have learnt to be patient! Over time the young people gain confidence with one another and learn how to express themselves.’

    It can be difficult for young people to admit that they are struggling with their mental health, and it takes time to build trust.

    Rachel says, ‘When we first started the support groups the young people were very quiet. Until they learn to trust you they are not going to say anything about their condition because of the way they are treated in society. So I have learnt to be patient! Over time the young people gain confidence with one another and learn how to express themselves.’

  • Karla, who recently worked as a protection advisor in Iraq says, ‘If you want to help young people, help them to connect to one another. And help them to connect with people in the next stages of life - people who will speak wisdom into them.’

    In Iraq, many people are living with different types of trauma, but it is not generally something that people talk about. Samer, a peace building consultant who has suffered from trauma himself, is trying to change this situation. Both he and Karla have realised how important it is for young people to have trusted leaders and role models.

    Karla says, ‘In Samer, young people see someone who is always actively pursuing the good of others, but also developing himself. He invites others to imagine a new way of living. With the support of community, family and friends, most people can recover from bad experiences.’

    Karla, who recently worked as a protection advisor in Iraq says, ‘If you want to help young people, help them to connect to one another. And help them to connect with people in the next stages of life - people who will speak wisdom into them.’

    In Iraq, many people are living with different types of trauma, but it is not generally something that people talk about. Samer, a peace building consultant who has suffered from trauma himself, is trying to change this situation. Both he and Karla have realised how important it is for young people to have trusted leaders and role models.

    Karla says, ‘In Samer, young people see someone who is always actively pursuing the good of others, but also developing himself. He invites others to imagine a new way of living. With the support of community, family and friends, most people can recover from bad experiences.’

About this podcast

How to build community is a podcast and radio show from Arukah Network and Tearfund’s Footsteps magazine. The podcast gives people the opportunity to inspire and motivate others by talking about their community projects and ideas.

Please get in touch if you have any ideas for future podcast episodes.

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Arukah Network is a global network of local people working to make communities happier, healthier places to be. 

Footsteps is a print and digital magazine that inspires and equips people to work with their local communities to bring positive change. 

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