Together with the Fondation d’Harcourt, the Di Liegro foundation is involved in a three-year Peer Education project, an innovative educational method that leverages the horizontal transfer of knowledge and skills, aiming to promote mental health and well-being, to prevent mental health issues and to improve relational climates in schools. Students who are properly educated have an increasingly positive influence on their peers.
The project is part of a network of collaborations between public institutions and the third sector, who promote mental health and the prevention of mental health problems in adolescence.
The Peer Education initiative, which was launched in February 2017, involves two high schools in Rome – the Dante Alighieri and L.Anneo Seneca high schools – and is carried out through the integration of different subjects and skills.
The initiative is headed by ASL Roma 1 (UOC-PIPSM), the Di Liegro Foundation, school administrators, professors, and a team of psychologists, who periodically plan and verify the results.
Since it was launched, the project has involved a total of 20 classes and 513 students.
The aim is to gradually reach the projects’ objectives through three phases:
- The first phase (first year) involved a team of psychologists in each group of first-year students, whose aim was to bring out its values, strengthen the group as a whole, and to work on a sense of “protection”.
The groups worked on: building a sense of belonging, collaboration, cooperation and integration between peers, and creating a positive climate to promote well-being and prevent bullying.
- The second phase (second year) focused on the selection (on a motivational basis) of “peer counselors” among the second-year students, who attended training workshops on specific topics and were divided into inter-class groups, one for each school. The total numbers of participants who were selected as peer counselors were 36.
The selection process was then followed by monitoring, supporting and supervising the peer counselors, as well as by assessing (through a questionnaire) and highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the activity.
- The third phase, which is currently underway, aims to consolidate the work that has been carried out so far. It aims to further develop the counseling skills of the peer counselors and directing these skills towards the promotion of well-being among students at school.
The peer counselors, who are trained to transfer their experience and skills, will become peer educators, and will help raise awareness among their classmates on the topics studied during their training.
During this stage, students will create videos to describe the project’s development and their experiences among their peers.