Youth engagement in promoting mental health and decreasing stigma

Listen to the Author discussing their work: 

Youth engagement in the design and delivery of mental health services and resources is a key means of ensuring services and resources are relevant to youth, decreasing stigma, and promoting mental health literacy and well-being. BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services’ (BCMHSUS) Health Literacy team works with and engages youth in meaningful, unique, and empowering ways. Youth are involved in all aspects of our programming, including service delivery, projects, events, and resource development.

BCMHSUS’ Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre is a provincial centre providing mental health and substance use resources and information to children, youth, and families from across BC. Within the Centre, and through a partnership with The FORCE Society for Kids’ Mental Health, youth who have lived experience with mental health challenges (“Youth in Residence”) provide peer support, information, and resources related to mental health to other youth throughout BC. Not only does this provide an empowering, meaningful opportunity for the Youth in Residence, but youth-to-youth peer support has been found to help decrease mental health stigma and contribute in an important way to mental health, well-being, and recovery.

The Youth in Residence have also taken a leadership role in the Kelty Centre’s Youth Ambassador Program, an innovative program designed to provide youth across BC with opportunities to promote mental health and well-being in their schools and communities. Kelty Youth Ambassadors have been involved in designing BCMHSUS resources for youth, developing anti-stigma videos, writing blog posts shared through the Kelty Centre, speaking to other youth at Kelty Centre events, and also developing their own mental health promotion projects in their own communities with the support of the Kelty Centre and the Youth in Residence.

Youth are also engaged in the planning, design, and delivery of BCMHSUS events and resources for youth. This includes the Balancing our Minds Youth Summit, an annual event for high school youth to learn about mental health and engage in fun activities and thoughtful dialogue. Over 1,400 youth were in attendance at the most recent event in February 2015.

Poster First Author: 
Michelle Cianfrone
Conference Presented At: 
IAYMH 2015
Poster Date: 
October, 2015
Subject Area Tag: