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They want to go to school, but just can’t

In order to help children and young people come back from – or avoid – long-lasting school absences, the municipalities in mid-eastern Sweden have initiated a project called #jagmed.

Challenge – Reach decision-makers and politicians

The #jagmed project, designed to find methods to identify and prevent long-lasting school absence, was launched in 2017. The project required a great deal of communication, and that’s where Strateg came in. Our job was to find ways to inform decision-makers in the school system and politicians from across Sweden about the project and the method that’s been developed, so that more schools can work according to its guidelines.

Insight – Increase knowledge about the core problem

Research showed that knowledge about the core cause of the problem was far too limited. It’s not that the children are lazy; they simply don’t have a choice. These children or young people don’t want to stay at home, but they are just unable to go to school. It often starts with a traumatic event of some sort, i.e. bullying or an insensitive teacher, which may lead to panic disorder, social phobia or depression. There are several methods that can be employed to get children back into school, but one thing that’s really important is to make them feel safe.

Concept – An informative film filled with emotion

Our opinion is that strong feelings are best expressed through film. Since the video we made for #jagmed was primarily targeted at an interested and engaged viewer in an enclosed context, we had the scope to choose a longer format and a slower pace. We felt it was a better fit for such a serious topic. We also made a few shorter versions of the film for social media, along with informative folders.

Follow-up – What happened?

During 2019 the film has been shown to principals, school therapists and politicians all over Sweden. A comment from the client: “We have received a lot of positive feedback; the film is perceived as very touching and true.”

We know that increased knowledge is an important part of the solution to the problem of involuntary school absence. #jagmed may hopefully lead to more children and young people completing their primary education and getting back to living a normal, full life again.