SELF-CARE: FOR YOUTH, BY YOUTH

This piece was originally featured on the Self-care Trailblazer Group blog.

With more than 1 billion youth—people between the ages of 15 and 24— around the world, the obstacles that they face while accessing health services are great. Limited educational resources and a lack of access to digital health content make gaining knowledge about their healthcare options challenging. And even when young people can access care, factors such as provider bias may limit their ability to receive high quality, relevant care.

Radical changes must be made for young people to benefit fully from healthcare systems.

In order to shift the health system to better meet the needs of young people and reach a world where each of them has access to care, we can’t afford to ignore youth voices. Ensuring that youth are equipped with proper knowledge and resources about self-care opportunities will require young leaders at the table, providing their expertise and voicing their needs in the conversation on how best to implement self-care, while holding the system accountable to these needs.

To find solutions to improve youth’s access to self-care approaches and products, we sought out the guidance from the very young people we want to reach. Through our very first community forum, hosted by youth leaders from IYAFP, Population Services International’s flagship adolescent contraceptive program A360, and Y-ACT, the Self-Care Trailblazer Group (SCTG) convened a group of more than 50 young people to seek guidance on how best to tailor self-care approaches to young people, hear the challenges they face, and identify ways to reach young people. 

QUESTIONS INCLUDED:
  1. What challenges do young people face when it comes to self-care and managing their own health?
  2. What would young people like to see the government do to make self-care more accessible? 
  3. If we could change how young people are able to care for their own health, what would that look like?

As a follow-up to our summit, we hosted a podcast with three self-care youth leaders to continue the dialogue about self-care, exploring strategies for implementation and possible outcomes. They provided insights on how the healthcare system can reach and serve youth. Self-care offers young people the opportunity to fully engage in their own healthcare journey. To achieve a world where everyone has access to care, we can’t afford to ignore youth voices. 

Listen to their Q&A or follow along in the transcription here!

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