"Mind the Mind" a la Spain!

Let's get to know our National Coordinator in Spain, Maider Prieto Vila!

1. How did you decide to get involved in Mind the Mind campaign?
              I fell in love with the campaign ever since I first heard about it. I remember thinking: “That is what Spain needs, to change the perspective on mental disorders and psychotherapy”.
Unfortunately, nowadays, the society still sees mental disorders as something strange. But, we should remember what World Health Organization says: “1 out of every 4 persons will have a mental disorder during their lives”. Or, the fact that in 2020 the depression will be the second leading cause of sick leave in the world behind cardiovascular diseases. So, looking at this data, we, as psychology students, should try to change the stigma surrounding mental disorders. And we have the tools to do it.

2. What roles in the campaign did you have until now?
             Puff… a lot haha! And it was a complete pleasure. I feel so lucky to be a part of all of this.
 In my first year, I was a volunteer, a trainer for the volunteers and a University Coordinator. And during the second and third year I still have these roles and I’m a National Coordinator too.

3. Could you describe the Spanish system a bit? We know that you are very organized, there are multiple local coordinators and one national coordinators team, as well as some other roles. How does this work?
The Spanish system in Mind the Mind campaign is the result of the work of all National Coordinators during these three years.  We constantly improved and we developed a system that we present to you in this organigram:

  • National Coordinators are responsible for the correct handling of the campaign, direct contact with EFPSA, recruitment of University Coordinators and volunteers. Additionally, they crate the database of volunteers, answer to their e-mails and contact other institutions. 
  • Regional Coordinators mentor the University Coordinator in their work and monitor the recruitment process in each university. I am monitoring Basque Country universities (UD, UPV) and universities of Castille-Leon (UPSA, USAL, UNED), so I am constantly in contact with these coordinators.
  • University Coordinators contact their dean to ask for permission to do the campaign in that university. They are responsible for the recruitment of the volunteers in their university and for organizing their training. There is a maximum of four coordinators per university, depending on the number of students.
  • Volunteers attend the training for Mind the Mind, find a place to hold the workshops and deliver them. 
4. How does it feel to be National coordinator?
               It’s one of the most important things that I did during my formation as a psychologist. I learned a lot  of things: how to work in team, how to teach, how to speak in public, and the most important thing – how to combat the stigma in the society and how to speak about the stigma with the next generation of psychologists in Spain. In part, thanks to this, I started my PhD studies.

5. Could you share an interesting experience which happened during campaign with us? It can be about coordinators, volunteers, participants, you… anything!
               One of the most important experiences for me in Mind the Mind was when I was doing the training in Pontifical University of Salamanca. The volunteers were very brave and they started to speak about their personal experience with mental health and psychotherapy. They did it in front of the people from their faculty who they never saw before. That atmosphere, that moment… was incredible.

6. And also something about yourself… what is your favourite song and why?
               It's difficult to choose just one. For me, the culture of my region, the Basque Country, is very important and I really like local musicians, such as Berri Txarrak and Gatibu.  Here I would go with the song “Biziraun” from Berri Txarrak. However, I also really like English bands, such as Coldplay, the Killers, Muse, Oasis, etc. My most special song I guess is “Fix you” from Coldplay because it explains us a lot of common situations, such as the one when we lose someone or when we are in a difficult moment. These situations are hard but we should never give up. These experiences will make us stronger and wiser.

7. Now back to the campaign. We also know that there are many volunteers in Spain… how many approximately and what would you say is the secret of your success?
During these three years, the total number of volunteers was around 3000. And the number for this year is 1016 volunteers. I think the success can be attributed to the most important part of Mind the Mind: the volunteers. Because, we just find them in the universities but they are the ones who apply to be a part of the campaign in the end. I think they do it because they really feel the importance of this campaign and they really want to change the public perception of mental disorders.

8. How many workshops did all of them hold until now? Did you hold or plan to hold any public events?
               We do not have the data for this year yet, we’ll have it in June. But I can give you the data for last year:  around 320 workshops were held in Spain in different contexts (the most common one was high school).
               When it comes to the public events, we were a part of the programme in various congresses, such as “Love your mental health” in Salamanca, Sanitary Students Congress in Valencia or in the House of Culture in Jaen. We are currently working on arranging events for the general public in more informal places.

9. At the end, what makes you most proud about being a part of Mind the Mind campaign?
               The fact that we are speaking about one part of our reality that is a taboo in our society and the feeling that we are helping the ones affected by mental disorders by combating the stigma.   


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