WH&Y authors: Professor Philippa Collin
This year was a hopeful one for young people. Despite the long tail of COVID-19, the climate crisis and the rise in the cost of living, the WH&Y Commissioners have flourished as champions of the role of young people in research, and as leaders and advocates for youth health.
In 2022, 35 diverse young people, aged 14 to 24, from urban, regional and rural areas of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, worked together with senior researchers to advise, consult, advocate, and co-create research in adolescent and youth health. They also produced resources and recommendations for best practice in health services and policy at a national, state and local level. This year, the WH&Y Commission had a national focus on policies, research and practices that affect their health and wellbeing.
Commissioners contributed in many ways, below are some of the highlights in 2022.
- Co-authoring the WH&Y Commission’s second national report: Youth Health Matters
- Presenting to more than 70 researchers, policy makers and professionals at the WH&Y CRE 2021 webinar series on young people’s health and wellbeing concerns outlined in the WH&Y Commission’s first report: 2021 Youth health, research and policy priorities and concerns.
- Providing advice and feedback to WH&Y Researchers on six projects and four major research proposals.
- Co-creating and delivering a webinar and the best practice resource when it comes to engaging LGBTQIA+ young people in research: WH&Y PRIDE
- Co-creating a recruitment strategy for our WH&Y Commission 2022 intake and a partner map of key stakeholders in Victoria
- Ten workshops, including three youth-led sessions on intersectionality, chronic illness and youth health priorities for research and translation
- Collaborating to create the WH&Y Youth Engagement Resource Kit for researchers and young people
- Co-creating and co-leading the content update and design of the WH&Y Commission page on the website
Advising and co-creating
- Co-leading a training session for University of Sydney’s second year medical students on engagement in adolescent health
- Consulting on a policy paper on gender and sexuality diverse sex education in schools with Cristyn Davis
- Co-authoring three journal articles led by Dr Teresa Swist on emerging technologies and youth health including one on sustaining young people’s participation in health research
- Discussing the importance of young people’s health and wellbeing on ABC Breakfast Television
- Showcasing WH&Y PRIDE best practice principles when engaging LGBTQIA+ young people on the ABC Queer Instagram page
- Co-presenting a workshop on Youth Engagement in Adolescent Health Research at the NSW Rural Research in Adolescent Health Conference in Dubbo
- Co-presenting key findings from the WH&Y Youth Matters report and a workshop on youth engagement in health research at the Australian Association of Adolescent Health Conference
- Discussing young people’s health and wellbeing concerns at the NSW Wellbeing & Nursing Conference
The Youth Health Matters research report has created the foundation for new conversations and potential collaborations with government, service providers and advocacy groups. It highlighted how many young people want to be involved in research, and the design and development of services and policy, however many barriers to their participation still exist. To address these, young people call on researchers, organisations and decision makers to:
- Offer a wide range of opportunities for young people to participate in all stages of research, policy and health services planning
- Create ongoing and intergenerational dialogues on health with young people and their communities and networks
- Focus on how complex layers of discrimination and disadvantage that impact young people’s participation and engagement can be addressed
They stressed the need to take a holistic view of health and embedding youth participation in the work we do.
The WH&Y Commission has achieved great accomplishments in 2022. We urgently need to work together with young people – a lot of their health and wellbeing concerns have been expressed before.
We invite everyone working with and for young people to collaborate with the WH&Y Commissioners to genuinely engage and co-create new possibilities for health and wellbeing research and practice for young people in Australia.
About The Authors
Philippa Collin is a Professor at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University...