From China to now globally, millions of people are experiencing unprecedented psycho-social, emotional, and mental health challenges due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. We aim to address these issues by engaging a community of young people in China and globally in a "Happiness Challenge" -- an online course that brings together the science of wellbeing with daily challenges designed to build healthy habits, resilience, and a supportive community of peers and experts.
While most of the attention and resources from public and private sectors on the COVID-19 coronavirus have been focused on combating the epidemic, mental health issues are also growing rapidly. Surveys show that 42.6% of Chinese citizens are experiencing anxiety and 16% are experiencing moderate to severe depression. With traditional taboos and stigma around mental health, China lacks the mental health infrastructure to support its large population.
This project aims to (1) disseminate the latest scientific knowledge about wellbeing and mental health through a fun way in the form of a challenge-based course; (2) create a global community of peers to provide support and accountability for each other as they incorporate wellness activities into their lives. We hope to create a safe space for young people to discuss mental health issues, develop scientifically-grounded practices, and access professional resources if needed.
On a societal level, we believe that starting a discussion about mental health and well-being can lead to reduced stigma, greater self-awareness, strengthened community trust, and a cultural shift around mental health. Should this course become successfully localized, we can continue to partner with schools to offer this course even after the epidemic subsides. On an individual level, this course can help students build habits leading to better health, productivity, and meaningful lives.