World Café on Mental Health

World Café on Mental Health
Main Topic
Health – Mental
Additional Topic(s)
Health - General
Solidarity - Participation
1-2 hours
Implementation Mode
Indoor F2F
The activity makes it possible to share ideas and allows participants who might be quiet or shy in larger groups to participate and express their thoughts on the topic.

The World Café is useful for gathering food for thought, sharing knowledge, and stimulating innovative ideas useful in addressing issues (e.g. youth mental health).
Overview of Activity
The world café technique allows for the development of informal conversations about significant issues and problems facing young people. These dialogues are aimed at facilitating the sharing of ideas in small groups and creating new awareness about multiple frailties such as eating disorders, depression and anxiety disorders. At the end of the process, the main outcomes from each group's reflections are synthesised and presented in a plenary session.
Description of Activity
Groups of four to five people sit around small tables as in a café. Each group explores a particular topic, and each participant is encouraged to test his or her listening skills. One of the fundamental characteristics of the World Café is circulation and sharing, which is why the participants 'rotate' between all the working tables. Every 15 minutes, the coordinator of the activity declares the change of table and all the participants can move, taking part in a new working group; only one person will remain at the table for all the time: they are the table host, i.e. the one who plays the role of facilitator, encouraging the other participants to express their opinion and who will take note of the ideas on a poster board. In this way everyone can see what has been said previously and one's ideas can connect with those of others. At the table change, the table host will present to the new group what has emerged from the contributions of the previous round.

One topic of particular interest might be that of youth mental health, an issue that has become more pronounced with the pandemic and needs appropriate responses and resources. Problems such as depression and anxiety disorders were particularly likely to be found among young people.
Sources & Additional Materials
Tables, chairs, papers, markers, pens and pencils.

External sources/Links

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Additional Notes
It is especially important to create an environment that is welcoming, reassuring and inviting to work in. When people feel comfortable, their thinking, listening and speaking also improves. Great care must be taken to formulate questions that will actually be of interest to those who will participate: when people focus on issues they care about, they are able to develop shared thinking and take on a positive attitude geared toward understanding.

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