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Deputy Ombudsman for children’s rights at the City Children’s Parliament on taking charge of one’s own mental health

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On 17 March 2023, Deputy Ombudsman Dr Jože Ruparčič participated at the 33rd City Children’s Parliament in the Town Hall in Ljubljana. This time, young participants tried to answer the questions of what mental health is, how it is influenced by the environment, where they find their sources of power, and what changes need to be made to strengthen their own mental health.

In his speech Deputy Ombudsman Ruparčič, who is in charge exclusively of children’s rights at the institution of the Ombudsman, talked about the mental health of children and the circumstances that strengthen it or damage it. He emphasised how important it is that children and adolescents care for their well-being by participating in activities that give them pleasure, but he especially stressed the importance of peer relationships that enable young people not only a healthy transition into adulthood but also everyday satisfaction and success in their work in school and broader. “Even in the case of mental problems, with appropriate professional support you can live a productive and satisfied life,” he said and directed them towards recognising, and above all accepting, their condition even though it may not always be pleasant. “Certain things and courses of actions cannot be changed, but we can change our perception of them and decide how to react. Sometimes it helps to accept that some things are beyond our control. What we cannot influence, we should try to accept. There are some things we can control and do something about,” added Deputy Ombudsman Ruparčič.

He encouraged them to find a balance between their obligations and socialising and to acknowledge their distress when it occurs and not try to supress it. He also advised that when they have problems, they confide in their loved ones, while they can find professional help through their GP, children’s mental health centres, and other resources.