Health Promotion Action #5: Re-orient health services

When we think about health services, most of us think first about hospitals, drop-in clinics, and doctor’s offices. These clinical services are a crucial part of health. Yet many of the factors that lead to illness and injuries are outside of the health system. To create communities in which young people can thrive and be healthy, happy, and safe, we need to do four things:

  1. Expand the mandate of public health units and community health centres to focus more on strengthening protective factors, reducing risk factors, and facilitating access to the social determinants of health.
  2. Invest in initiatives to increase the access that young people and their families have to protective factors and the social determinants of health.
  3. Create bridges between partners from the health, social and education sectors and the community.
  4. Work across levels of government.

Reorienting health services also means making health services youth-friendly and culturally competent. That means all young people can find the help they need and feel comfortable and respected. Youth-friendly health services respond to young people’s realities. They don’t judge. They respect confidentiality and self-determination. Culturally competent health services provide respectful care to clients of diverse cultures and identities.

Visit the Toolbox tools  for resources to reorient health services.

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