UNICEF Bulgaria and ‘Postbox for Fairytales’ work together to support mental health

The topic of the special edition of the literary forum is ‘Beyond Smiles: How are you Really?

02 September 2021
„Отвъд усмивките: Как си всъщност?“
UNICEF Bulgaria/2021

Sofia, 2 September, 2021. UNICEF Bulgaria and the ‘Postbox for Fairy Tales’ literary project join efforts to support the mental health of young people. The new edition of the literary forum will be dedicated to the theme

"Beyond smiles: How are you, really?".

We look forward to receiving literary works of authors between the ages of 14 and 24.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just how much turmoil in the outside world can affect our inner world and underlined the need for psychosocial support for children, adolescents, their parents and families. Teenagers and young people are particularly vulnerable. Social isolation, a lack of awareness, and stigma are primary risk factors preventing children and young people from getting the help they need to tackle mental health issues.

According to WHO data, up to 50% of all mental health conditions start before the age of 14 and up to 1 in 5 adolescents experience a mental disorder each year. In Bulgaria, during the COVID pandemic, teenagers felt big levels of emotional distress: 5 times more irritation; 5 times more boredom; 4 times more loneliness; 4 times more nostalgia and sadness; 3 times more anger and disappointment; 2 times more fear and anxiety; 2 times more helplessness and uselessness (UNICEF Bulgaria survey 2020). The reason for not seeking professional help if the negative emotional experiences are strong is anxiety or shame (63%) or not knowing where to look for help (17%), show the results from a U-Report Bulgaria survey in 2020.

Supportive relationships with peers, families, and teachers, combined with honest conversations are the main protective factors for children’s and young people’s positive mental health and well-being. Therefore, we encourage the authors to share in their essays and short stories what challenges their inner world has faced and what has helped them to overcome them, how isolation from friends and changes in daily routine have influenced them. Our goal is to promote an open conversation for psychosocial well-being and action in support of all children and adolescents as well as to encourage young people to seek help when they need it. 

Literary works can be submitted to info@kutiata.bg from 1 to 27 September. The most inspiring among them will be selected by psychologist Alexandra Algafari, Ivaylo Spasov, Communication for Social Change Officer at UNICEF Bulgaria, and Geri Turiyska, creator of ‘Postbox for Fairytales’.  

In November, the selected essays and short stories will be read publicly by a number of celebrities, including actress Elena Petrova, Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF Bulgaria, Mihaela Fileva, Alexander Sano, Orlin Pavlov. Raffy Bohosyan, Georgi Blazhev. 

It is recommended the lenght be maximum 3 A4 pages, font 14. 

Media contacts

Krasimira Antimova
Communication Officer
UNICEF Bulgaria
Tel: +359 882 344 553

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