At the start of 2017, Our Joint Youth Action Committee (YAC) with Children’s Mental Health Ontario began work on its third youth-led policy project. The committee, composed of youth from across Ontario, first met in March in Toronto to discuss their experiences with the mental health system and what they had heard from other youth in their communities, and begin to work toward identifying the next focus of their youth-led policy work.
As the committee continued to meet through the year, they began to narrow their focus onto looking at gaps in mental health services, particularly for groups facing heightened risk of marginalization. The committee decided to host two youth summits based on this overarching topic, and to use what they heard from youth about their experiences to help narrow down the focus.
The committee hosted two events in the fall of 2017. The first event was hosted in Thunder Bay in October, in partnership with the Children’s Centre of Thunder Bay. Two of the youth groups at Children’s Centre were already planning a summit in the fall, so the YAC joined as partners and hosted a conversation as part of this event. The committee hosted successful conversations with youth from Thunder Bay and the surrounding area.
The committee also hosted a provincial youth summit in Toronto in November. This summit brought together over 70 youth for a dynamic day-long event full of challenging and complex conversations. Through our engagement with youth at these two events, the committee deepened its understanding of the experiences of accessing services of youth facing mental health challenges, and some of the specific challenges and barriers faced by youth facing heightened risk of marginalization.
As of December 2017, the committee completed a document summarizing key themes and findings. The 2018 committee will continue to analyze the findings and collect more input from youth, aiming for a release of our completed policy document by November 2018.
At this time, we are excited to release our 2017 Summary Document, outlining key findings from our work in 2017. Over the year we will continue to engage with youth – if you’re interested in contributing, join the TNM mailing list to receive opportunities as they arise.
The 2017 Youth Action Committee project was proudly sponsored by:
The Youth Action Committee (YAC) is a provincial advisory committee, made up of youth aged 16-25 who work to reduce stigma and improve mental health services for children and youth through youth-led policy recommendations. The YAC identifies a major issue youth experiencing mental health difficulties in Ontario are facing and sets out to find out how youth think we can solve these complex issues. Following province wide youth consultations, the YAC works with Children’s Mental Health Ontario’s (CMHO) policy team to generate youth-led policy recommendations. The group works together to deliver findings and recommendations to stakeholders responsible for change.