Life at school

Folkehøgskole strengthens mental health

Mental health is the young people's most important issue according to the survey UNG 2022. Folkehøgskole strengthens your mental health and raises the quality of life.

One of the most commonly used definitions in Norway describes mental health as “a state of well-being where the individual can realize his possibilities, handle normal stressful situations in life, work in a fruitful and productive way and have the opportunity to contribute to others and in society. Good mental health is thus a positive condition - not just the absence of illness and difficulties ».

Good mental health is not just the absence of bad thoughts and discomfort, it is about a positive experience of one's own health. It's tackling the challenges you face in life.

This can be done by talking to a friend, family or someone you trust such as your teacher, nurse, your trainer or a doctor.

How can you strengthen your mental health?

Dealing with mental health problems can also mean that you consciously do what is good for you. The term "mental health" is often used in connection with problems, but studies show that people who learn about what strengthens our mental health also has better mental health. It is important to know what is affecting our psyche so that we can build it up.

By identifying and strengthening these resources, we can be better able to meet the challenges of life.

Nina Helen Mjøsund, specialist nurse in mental health at Vestre Viken.

Mental health is always present - and is referred to as a staircase you go up or down. At the top of the stairs, health is good. At the bottom of the stairs, health is poor. Where you are on the stairs varies throughout life, and it is not possible to be at the top all the time.

NIPH on quality of life

"Quality of life is about what gives life value and meaning. What does it take for you to feel positive emotions such as joy, mastery and meaning? Some enjoy a walk in the woods, others study the sea. Some enjoy music or food, others are happy with themselves when they practice the guitar, or solve a twisted crossword puzzle. Everything that contributes to such good feelings, provides an increased quality of life and can strengthen mental health ».

If you manage to facilitate tasks that give you positive experiences, a lot has been done. The National Institute of Public Health provides five tips on how to improve your mental health:

  • Tie ribbons
  • Be active
  • Be aware
  • Keep learning
  • Give to others

We believe that these advices go hand in hand with everyday life at a folk high school.

1. Keep learning

At folk high school, you fill everyday life with learning and value, and the impulses you receive contribute to good feelings that can increase the quality of life.

Folkehøgskole is often described as «what you do not learn elsewhere». Washing clothes, keeping order, managing your finances, finding your way around a big city, planning trips, organizing joint activities, showing commitment and taking responsibility.

In addition, there is the academic. On the line, you become a better snowboarder, photographer or musician. You can choose electives to get better at something - or to try something completely new. There are both creative, active and scientific subjects. The common subjects teach you about the world you are part of, and we have engaging seminars that put things in perspective. Not to mention everything you can learn from your 130 classmates, and what you learn about yourself when you live in a boarding school and as part of a small and close-knit community.

2. Be active

At folk high school, you get the opportunity to live an active life - with others. The whole school travels on a trip to Jotunheimen, and through the line, electives, student evenings, program evenings and common subjects, you join many different activities both indoors and outdoors, in the local area and around the world.

You can e.g. choose strength training, endurance training, gymnastics, skiing / snowboarding, yoga, zumba or kickboxing.

You can learn to draw and paint, make sculptures in ceramics, get involved in making the school greener and more sustainable or attend a language café with international students.

Every week there are student evenings, where one or more lines arrange pleasant and active evenings for the rest of the school. The student council arranges e.g. ball, and film awards, ladies' and gentlemen's evenings and many other active events are organized.

At the school there are also strength rooms, skate ramps, rail park for skis and boards, craft rooms, photo studio, beach volleyball court, table tennis table, billiards, swimming area and much more.

The article continues…

Tie a ribbon

At Elverum Folk High School, you stay in a double room and get a roomie. You live in a boarding school, attend a class and participate in electives. In the theme weeks, all lines are mixed in new groups. That way, you constantly get new entrances to get to know the other students.

In addition, belonging, unity and inclusion are topics we work actively with throughout the school year. Both on the lines and in the common subjects.

4. Pay attention

Each day begins with a joint gathering and a "Word of the Day." An employee conveys a good story, a saying, or a point of view that gives a good start to the day and creates reflection, reflection or just a nice feeling in the body. Then we sing, and it has been proven that singing releases hormones that promote happiness.

Every week we have a "formation class". Here we do different cases and discuss our attitudes. A recurring theme is to be aware of what you have, see those you have around you and appreciate everyday life.

5. Give to others

Throughout the school year, we arrange aid races, run lottery and cafes, sell Christmas gift cards, have aid marathons, pawn bottles and sell art and photographs for income for the school's aid projects in Uganda.

But there are many other ways to contribute to others. Maybe you want to wake someone up with coffee in bed? You can arrange a social evening for your line? You can light the fire before the others have got up for a walk, or cheer wildly on the sidelines when someone needs motivation to take an ice bath?

We know it feels good to do something for others. At the folk high school, there are countless opportunities!

The "mountain weather rules" for mental health

  1. Do not carry heavy tanks alone
  2. Seek help in time, there is no shame in asking for help
  3. Save on great experiences, they are good to carry in your backpack
  4. Be prepared for heavy periods. Talk about it before it gets too difficult
  5. Think about what you can do, instead of what you can not do
  6. Be active. Regular physical activity is good for your mental health.
  7. Try to do something nice every day. Either for yourself or others.

Stick to routines

Try to stick to routines in everyday life and create new routines when needed. Get up and go to bed at the same time, eat regular meals, make a plan for activities during the day and remember to take breaks. Take a shower and put on something other than a baby! Try to distinguish between school work, leisure and weekend.

At the folk high school, you get four regular meals every day. You have a timetable every week, and you get a semester plan for the activities on your line.

We expect participation

At Elverum Folkehøgskole we have long experience of helping and challenging young people. But to make it happen, we need participation.

That is when folk high school and the National Institute of Public Health's five councils for better mental health coincide. It is not possible to fulfill any of the five tips from the bed in the dormitory.

Of course, bad days are the law. But if you are at the bottom of the mental health ladder, you have to get out of the room and start walking. If this is unaffordable over time, you must seek help from other agencies.

By the way, did you know that?

  • Those who spend less than 30 minutes on social media have fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression?
  • Setting clear time frames for daily use of social media can provide stronger mental health?
  • Passive scrolling in social media can give a poorer self-image and increased anxiety, as it can reinforce the impression that other people's everyday lives are better than your own?

Think about who you follow and let your time fill up. Even if it does not feel that way, it will control your subconscious. Follow actors who teach you something and give positive focus, e.g. World Mental Health Day on Instagram.

A task:

Regardless of whether you are struggling or feeling good about yourself. Make a weekly plan where you plan the use of social media, limit the time to a maximum of 30 minutes during the day, and follow all five tips from NIPH for better mental health. What's going on with your mind?

Where can you get help?

  • More than half of the municipalities and districts in Norway have a wellness center
  • Set up an hour with your GP
  • Download the Thought Virus app
  • Call Mental Health Helpline on 116 123
  • In case of emergency, call 113


  • Young 2022:

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