By Damian Stahli
ZETA Movement was founded because there is still high stigmatization around mental health in Switzerland – with the younger generation especially effected. Faced with this dangerous and harmful stigma, a group of passionate, young mental health activists had an idea to create ZETA Movement to address this problem.
Created by young people for young people, we see ourselves as a movement to break the silence and eliminate the stigma around mental health issues in Switzerland. We use an approach centred around storytelling, with three core pillars of information sharing, mental health promotion and community building.
During the recent lockdown period, we worked to provide expert content around different aspects of mental health which was made freely available on our website and social media for youth who have been struggling during the pandemic. Our content and operations are all multi-lingual to represent Switzerland’s official languages as well as English in order to make this content available to as many young people as possible.
Our core focus moving forward is our flagship programme - the ZETA Movement Ambassador Programme.
Our Ambassadors are young people in the late stage of their journey to recovery who share their personal experiences about their mental health issues in schools and other youth-related organizations. All our Ambassadors attend a workshop with a professional psychologist to learn how to speak about mental health and how best to share their experiences as well as answer questions or deal with situations that may arise through their work. Each Ambassador will accompany a registered psychologist on their school visits to ensure that we are able to provide accurate information and support to the students who reach out to us while also showing that it is okay to speak about these issues. We believe that school by school, we will be able to create sustainable and positive change, ending the stigma around mental health in Switzerland.
We are proud to see the difference that our work has already made, from our project at the University of Berne to our social media activities. The messages we receive and the progress we have seen makes it all worth it and proves yet again the incredible power of storytelling. We want to be the last generation suffering from the stigma of mental health and are convinced that speaking about these taboo topics is the first step to ending the stigma.
If you want to get in touch with ZETA Movement, we have a webinar taking place on 20 October 2020 at 5 pm GMT. The webinar is part of the Berne Action Days for Mental Health and it is co-hosted together with Pro Juventute (a Swiss organization specialized in children, teens and young adults) about their national helpline and their peer chat. It will take place in German and you can ask questions in either German, English, French or Italian.