Today, the world celebrates International Youth Day, an annual recognition of the role young people play in bringing transformational change in tackling global issues and achieving sustainable development.
It serves as an opportunity to raise awareness of challenges and problems facing the world’s youth, and emphasizes the rights of young people to have full equitable access to healthcare, education, employment, monetary services, and complete participation in public life.
The theme for 2022 International Youth Day is “Intergenerational Solidarity”, which focuses on how collaboration between all generations is key to ensuring “no one is left behind.”
Ageism, or the discrimination directed towards individuals based on age, creates significant challenges to fostering collaboration and solidarity across age groups. It influences health care, human rights and development, and can prevent people from reaching their full potential.
The UN released a 2021 Global Report on Ageism, which highlights the many data gaps that exist due to ageism against youth. Young people continue to report age-related barriers in various spheres of their lives, such as health care, employment, politics, social support, and justice.
“On an individual level, these age-related obstacles can deeply impact their wellbeing and livelihoods not only during the youth years, but also in adulthood. On a societal level, ageism prevents us from thinking and designing policies and social services that adopt a life-course approach and are fair for all ages” states the United Nations.
Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario (YWHO) recognizes the importance of youth collaboration and co-development in programming and implementation. Evidence shows that when young people have a voice and active role in treatment and service planning, access to mental health services is enhanced, agencies are able to be more responsive to community needs, community development is bolstered, and young people are encouraged to be more civic-minded.
Ensuring youth have input in their care at every level – from the design of the physical hub location to the processes in which data is collected – helps ensure young people and their families are receiving the care that meets their needs. “Youth and family engagement” is one of YWHO’s six core components, and is fundamental to the YWHO model.
In addition, YWHO relies on the input of youth and families through three provincial advisory groups, and every site works with local youth advisory councils. This helps ensure that we are receiving direct input at both the provincial and community level. Members of these groups and other youth at the local hubs take the lead on many initiatives, including leading social programming, events, and more. Youth-led programming has become an important part of YWHO.
Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario is proud to celebrate the incredible young people involved across the network, on this day and every other day. We are committed to ensuring we deliver the care youth need and working together to transform services in Ontario.