Cluj-NapocaMental Health Literacy Program



About 50% of mental illnesses start in adolescence. According to statistics provided by the World Health Organization, globally, 1 in 7 adolescents aged 10-19 experience a mental disorder, with half of these beginning to manifest around the age of 14. However, most disorders remain undiagnosed and untreated. Depression, anxiety and behavioral disorders are among the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents. The same report shows that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15-19 year olds.

In Romania, about 22,000 children and adolescents live with a diagnosis of mental illness, and many others face various developmental, emotional or cognitive difficulties (source: Unicef Romania). 

Considering the current situation and in order to meet the needs of adolescents and young people in terms of psycho-education, in 2018, the project “Mental Health Literacy” was launched in Cluj-Napoca. The program is structured around interactive sessions where we address topics such as stigma and myths about mental health, body image, emotions, anxiety, depression, strategies for coping with symptoms associated with disorders, and developing resilience.

Mental health literacy

Psycho-educational resources

Dedicated specialists
  • Stronger together!

We seek to increase mental health information and awareness in the community through structured sessions delivered by Inocenti psychologists, with a focus on: Understanding how to build and maintain great mental health.

  • understanding mental disorders and their treatments
  • decreasing stigma related to mental disorders 
  • increasing the likelihood of people seeking specialist help

The Mental Health Literacy project is structured as follows:

  • Session 1 – stigma and how it affects individuals, myths surrounding mental health and mental illnesses
  • Session 2 – mental health, the factors that influence it, maintaining a good level of mental health
  • Session 3 – emotions and their role in our lives
  • Sessions 4 and 5 – anxiety, identifying potential symptoms and strategies for managing them  
  • Sessions 6 and 7 – depression, identifying potential symptoms and strategies for managing them  
  • Session 8 – body image and its relationship to mental health and strategies for students to take care of their bodies
  • At the same time we consider: 
  • Creating a safe environment in which they discuss with specialists the changes and the emotions that emerge, as well as the challenges specific to this age.
  • Encouraging the development of resilience through awareness of available internal and external resources.
  • Creating and providing psycho-educational resources for teens that include relevant information on six of the most commonly addressed mental health topics: ADHD, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, depression, specific phobias, anger and frustration management. 
  • Organizing themed exhibitions #IMaketheDifference (#EuFacDiferenta), featuring artwork by teenagers participating in the program.

The ”Mental Health Literacy Program” takes place in the following high schools:

In 2022 the Inocenti team together with 45 volunteers have supported:

  • 385 teenagers în 58 mental health sessions

The program targets high schools in Cluj, with more than 1500 students participating so far in the “Mental Health Literacy” sessions since 2018.

WHO WE AREMeet our specialists

Ioana Meșterelu

Clinical Psychologist and CBT Psychotherapist

Alexandrina Sabău




Inocenti Foundation psychologists support children and adolescents with a series of materials adapted to their psycho-emotional needs, providing them with information, resources and strategies to manage symptoms associated with various mental disorders. These materials are useful for both parents and mental health professionals.

Information booklets for adolescents

We bring to the attention of teenagers and their parents relevant information on six of the most commonly discussed mental health topics: ADHD, generalised anxiety, social anxiety, depression, specific phobias, anger and frustration management, body image and eating disorders.


Our partner in this project is Fondation d’ Harcourt, an organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life of people with mental disorders and their families.   

In addition, we collaborate with the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca. Every year, we have 35 volunteers, students from this faculty, involved in our program.

This program is supported by the Cluj County School Inspectorate, and our partner schools. 

Last, but not least, the main partner in the organization of the #IMaketheDifference art exhibitions is the “Romulus Ladea” Visual Arts High School.

MEDIAMoments from the program


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