Youth Centred Practice
WHO’S IT FOR?
Educators and students who work with young people
A training program for practitioners to be youth-centred in their approach to support youth engagement and care.
Many different attributes and values are accredited here to the youth-centred practitioner. Still, the most central of them is that the youth-centred practitioner prioritizes the youth before all else. A clinician at a mood and anxiety disorders clinic says their clinic prioritizes helping youth first, which they feel is not the number one priority in our current mental health care system. “And you know, we prioritize helping the patients as opposed to getting people out the door which seems to be the modus operandi of some other institutions whose names will remain anonymous.” (FEMAP, Person A). A complaint also brought by others interviewed was that the one size fits all, uniform treatments that have become standard throughout the mental health care system don’t always help the youth who receive them.
A CYC student explains that youth-centred care is not uniform. “There is much grey area in the field, and we can’t be in black and white thinking. It’s that puzzle piece or cookie-cutter treatment that’s black and white. We can’t do that for each child because each child is not that cookie cutter shape.” (Fanshawe Student, Person C). Prioritizing the youth means that clinicians have to be flexible.
As what it means to be a youth changes and evolves throughout the different developmental stages’ youth go through and changes through the years, so to should the types of care provided to them. Practitioners who prioritize their youth clients learn to act reflexively to the evolution of the youth experience. “And also, to recognize that it’s an, it’s evolving just like anything else, right, because again, what might be seen as some of the core kinds of, beyond the core principles or, you know, five years from now could be different or somewhat different. Because generations change and pretty soon what might have been built here is going to be like looked back on and in five or ten years is going, well that’s not necessarily is relevant to some of the kinds of needs or changing demographic. So, it’s… staying agile, it’s staying on top of it, it’s staying aware, it’s recognizing that it grows, it changes and that we all have to reflect on that.” (Community Practitioner).
Alec is a undergraduate student at Western University, completing an honours specialization in psychology. Alec has been a part of MINDS since 2018, starting as a co-op student in his senior year of high school. He is currently leading the studying Youth-Centred Practice project. Alec is also a facilitator of the Youth Mental Health and Addictions Council (YMHAC).
Renee is passionate and accomplished researcher whose focuses on general health and well-being, with an emphasis on mental health related to positive psychological practices and patterns of interpersonal behaviour. She was most recently a Mitacs Elevate Program Postdoctoral Fellow, Western University and graduated with her PhD in Social Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier.