Name of the activity: S.U.L.L.E. / Sex, Understanding, Love, Learning, Experience

Country/NMO: Finland (FiMSIC)

Program: Comprehensive Sexuality Education

 

Type of the activity: Education

 

General description:

S.U.L.L.E. / Sex, Understanding, Love, Learning, Experience: Sexual health is not properly addressed in the Finnish educational system. The needs of the youth, combined with those of medical students meet at S.U.L.L.E. This comprehensive sexual health session is beneficial to both the jr high school students and the medical students, not forgetting the indirect, following benefits for the public health of Finland. We believe that sexuality should be addressed without shame or stigma, openly and in a respectful manner. The best way to carry this out among 14-15 year-olds is to have peer educators (medical students) who the jr high school students can identify themselves with. This is the most effective way of reaching the target group. An open and nonjudgmental ambiance is a key priority of the sessions. Also, the knowledge and communication skills of the medical students delivering the sessions is ensured beforehand by proper training. We want to correct stereotypes regarding sexuality, and inform the youth about the diversity of sexuality.

Focus area:

Peer Education with adolescents and young people on a variety of topics pertaining to Sexual Health

Problem statement:

Supporting the sexual health and identity of adolescents in Finland is one of the main focus areas of FiMSIC Finland. Medical students with adequate knowledge on sexual health work as peer educators for junior high school students. In the Finnish education system curriculum sexual health is not largely addressed. Speaking about important and intimate topics, such as sexual identity, diversity of sexuality, sexual health including contraception and STDs, also sharing practical information on how to live a healthy sexual life and how and where to find medical care and assistance when needed.

Target groups and beneficiaries:

Adolescents, Finnish junior high school students. In the long run, the project is beneficial for the entire public health of Finland, as it is a preventive means of decreasing the amount of STDs and unwanted pregnancies etc. And, obviously, the education is helpful for the individual adolescents who may avoid a lot of suffering by being informed about safe sex and matters of sexuality. They receive peer support and get more comfortable with themselves and their sexuality. In addition, the medical students delivering the sessions benefit by learning to interact with youth and therefore they challenge their communication skills (on such an intimate topic) and are given a chance to grow as medical professionals and learn to use applied knowledge.

Objectives and indicators of success:

1. Add the knowledge of Finnish adolescents on sexuality and sexual health
1.1 Prevent STDs/unwanted pregnancies
1.2 Decrease the load on health care of sexual health issues
1.3 Support the sexual health and identity of Finnish adolescents
2. Train Finnish medical students
2.1 with youth
2.2 on sexual health topics, not widely address in medical education

Methodology:

Medical students, trained beforehand, deliver sessions in Finnish junior high schools. The sessions last 45-90 mins. 2-3 medical student / about 20 adolescents. The topics are addressed thematically: genital anatomy, puberty, relationships and ‘first time’, STDs and contraception (the use of condom, demonstrated). In addition, the width of the definition of gender, sexual identity in all its forms, is presented and respected. One of the main goals is to create an atmosphere where the adolescents can ask questions and express their ideas and concerns without being judged. Open discussion is the main method, not lecturing. Medical students also advice the pupils on seeking for help: where to go if you need to get tested for STDs (local places), where to go if there are issues in the relationship, and where to seek medical help in the case of unwanted pregnancy.

Plans for evaluation:

The previous evaluation of the activity hasn’t been carried out in a sustainable way, but we will start the proper evaluation during this term (2018).
Evaluation based on indicators:
1. and 1.3 Mobile feedback survey right after the session (carried out by GoogleForms etc.)
1.1-1.2 Follow the numbers of STDs and aborts in Finland among youth, recorded by the National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health of Finland
2. and 2.2 A short exam after the training, measuring the learning results
2.1 Carrying out a feedback questionnaire about the medical students’ experiences in delivering the sessions