Ciudad Ciencia addresses mental health in a workshop with adolescents 

Cajal Institute – News

“Mental health has being incorporated into Ciudad Ciencia Project thanks to a new workshop. Ciudad Ciencia is one of the main scientific outreach projects by the Spanish Research Council (CSIC) that brings scientific knowledge to 57 medium size towns across Spain. The objective of “How to Understand and Manage Our Emotions” is to provide students in Secondary Education (ESO) and Vocational Training (FP) with tools for the development of good emotional intelligence. This activity started on October 17th and 18th at three high schools in San Fernando de Henares (Madrid).

The initiative, divided into two sessions, involves the participation of researchers from the Instituto Cajal-CSIC and psychologists from Educ-at. In these firsts sessions, Dr. Fernando de Castro Soubriet (CSIC’s Staff Scientist) briefly outlined how the brain functions and revised neurobiological basis of emotions.

The neuroscientist, who also discussed the influence of social media and technology on mood, was joined by Ángel Terrón and Alberto Jiménez, psychologists and founding partners of Educ-at Psychologists. They spoke to the students about emotional intelligence and facilitated group dynamics to apply what they had learned.

“It’s essential for students to understand how our brain works. Therefore, from the field of neuroscience, we talk to them about the brain mechanisms that come into play to trigger emotions, neurotransmitters, and their connection to mental illnesses,” explained Fernando de Castro.

The workshop concluded with a second session in which the team of psychologists provided strategies for managing emotions like anger, anxiety, or sadness, and addressed the topic of new technologies. According to Ángel Terrón, “emotions accompany us at all times. Knowing how to identify them, express them, understand them, and regulate them is key to promoting students’ mental health.”

The activity took place at IES Vega del Jarama on Tuesday, October 17th at 11:30 a.m. and was repeated on October 18th at IES Fernando VI at 10:00 a.m. and at IES Jaime Ferrán Clúa at 12:20 p.m. All three sessions had a total participation of 150 secondary school and vocational training students.

Soon, the workshop will be conducted in other locations within Ciudad Ciencia, a project supported by the Ministry of Science and Innovation.

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