The provincial government announced an initiative Wednesday to seek input from youth between the ages of 12 and 25 through an online questionnaire on their opinions and experiences accessing mental health and addictions services in the province.
The purpose of the questionnaire is to help build better programs and services for young people when and where they are needed.
John Haggie, minister of Health and Community Services, made the announcement at Choices for Youth at Carter’s Hill Place in St. John’s.
“We can change the mental health and addictions system through this process, so young people can access the services and supports they need,” Haggie said. “Youth are a crucial part of the conversation. We need them to have a voice in this process. I look forward to hearing their views about what is important to them and what they think we need to do to make the system better. Their input will help us identify gaps and bring forward solutions to ensure young people have access to the right services, at the right time, and in the right place.”
Youth are encouraged to participate by visiting engagenl.ca. The questionnaire can be completed on a computer or mobile device.
Youth who are unable to complete the questionnaire online may request a written copy by calling Linda Warford, Mental Health and Addictions Division, at 709-729-4453.
The deadline is Nov. 15.
Sheldon Pollett, executive director of Choices for Youth, said that through its own consultations, it has heard directly from young people across the province that it is vital to get things right across all of the systems that aim to support youth to live healthy, stable lives.
He noted Choices for Youth in St. John’s helped 1,500 young people last year, all seeking services on a range of issues and who have been struggling in ways they should not have to.
“We knew for a long time that change needs to come to the system,” Pollett said. “It’s about how communities in the province can have the right services at the right time when young people need it.”
The results of the questionnaire will help inform the development of a new integrated service delivery model for youth and young adults. It’s a recommendation in Towards Recovery: The Mental Health and Addictions Action Plan for Newfoundland and Labrador, a news release notes.