March’s Topic: It’s All About Health
How does the lack of fresh air and clean water affect me and my community? Are there good quality hospitals around my hometown where members of my family could seek help in case of an emergency? What can we do if we feel sad and depressed, but rather than paying attention to our suffering, others falsely believe that we are just being moody? Is the keto diet really the key to getting into perfect shape, or does it hide some risks?
We all want quick and accurate answers to those questions, don’t we? Of course we do, because they personally affect us, our loved ones, our cities and our communities. They cover just a few aspects of one enormous and often misunderstood and misrepresented topic: Health.
And it’s a topic that we need to talk about. Why?
Because it is among the biggest generators of fake news, with the potential for tricking people into making decisions with detrimental effects on their safety and well-being. Because together with Romania, Bulgaria is at the top of the EU rankings in terms of childhood pregnancies (yes, sexual life is part of our health, too). Because our country has no specialized child hospital where young patients can be treated according to the highest standards while feeling safe, surrounded by their loved ones. Because the smoke from waste illegally imported from Europe in Soviet-style power plants has polluted whole cities and villages in Bulgaria, leaving locals with respiratory issues and fears of long-term problems such as cancer. Because a clean environment and healthier lifestyles mean happier people. And so on.
We challenge you to dive into the health topic and explore it from its diverse aspects:
Healthcare. Visit your local hospital and talk to the doctors and medical experts there about any challenges faced. Are they underfunded, lacking important equipment or suffering from young doctors fleeing to Western countries? Seek out not only the problems but also their solutions. There are unique people who show courage, professionalism and dedication to help others on a daily basis, against all the odds.
Sexual health and education. Let’s try to overcome the taboo and take a journalistic approach to one of the most important and at the same time controversial topics for young people. Talk to your classmates, the school psychologist, organizations specializing in sexual health and education, health mediators. You know best what matters to young people, and your voice must be heard.
Mental health. According to data from the National Center for Public Health, every fifth Bulgarian suffers from some kind of mental illness. And yet, we rarely talk openly about it. The same goes for media coverage of the topic. Break the silence and explore it. People suffering from different psychological issues are all around us, and some of them will be willing to tell their stories. Therapists and health experts will be happy to provide you with more information so that you can help raising awareness on an issue of key importance.
Environment. Are there local environmental problems threatening your community, such as air pollution or lack of access to clean water? Meet with local people and talk to environmental experts, scientists and the local administration about the various aspects of the problem and what can and will be done for them to be resolved.
Healthy living. Fitness, good food and healthy practices have become quite trendy recently. And this is definitely good news! Feel free to dive into the latest trends in healthy living, but keep an eye out for their potential risks and downsides, too.
Send us your pieces in the medium you choose – video, interview, article, photo report, etc. Cover events, talk to as many people as possible, think about solutions to the problems. Think about a photo or an illustration which we can run along with your story and check out its copyrights before you send it to us. Send us your stories by March 31 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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