It Matters to Me: Informing Youth Services Delivery

IT MATTERS TO ME: INFORMING YOUTH SERVICES DELIVERY 15 the ages of 10 to 19 accessed the hospital as their first contact for addressing their mental health issues, which demonstrated that young people waited until there was a crisis before they accessed support (Nguyen et al., 2019). This delay of accessing services has led to an ineffective and costly health system (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2015). Explanations as to why young people refused to engage in services has been attributed to issues related to accessibility of services, siloed systems, timely support, and a continuum of services through key transitions periods (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2015). The combination of Surrey’s expanded population, increased mental health amongst young people, and a system that is riddled with barriers illuminated the need for me to examine Surrey’s youth health landscape and explore approaches that promoted ultimate youth health. One innovative way of supporting young people in receiving timely support is through the concept of including retired individuals in the youth service delivery. The outcome of an American study that examined five intergenerational programs that matched retired seniors who had experience working with at-risk youth, proved beneficial to both youth and elders (Freedman & Jaffe, 1993). Another study that came out of the United States examined another “grandparent” program that proved equally successful by demonstrating enriched connections to trusting adults, cost-efficient service delivery, increased resiliency and self-worth, improved developmental assets, and enhanced social skills (VanderVen, 2004). A team of UBC undergrad doctors acknowledged a need for a universal change in BC’s approach to supporting youth based on a coordinated service delivery model (Nguyen et al., 2019). Currently in Surrey, the approach has young people referred to scattered locations where family members (or care providers) are not incorporated in the service plans, and patients experienced long wait times to access urgent care support (Nguyen et al., 2019). Solutions tended to be solely

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