About The Programme
In Canada, the personal and national costs of non-communicable diseases (NCD's) are significant, with heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes accounting for 62.7% of the country's deaths in 2011.1
Through targeted policies and effective prevention programmes, the Young Health Programme (YHP) in Canada is working to reduce the personal suffering and soci-economic damage caused by NCD's by helping to improve the physical, mental and emotional well-being of Canada's youth.
The Programme's approach is centred on the principle that in order to promote adolescent health, both outreach initiatives and policy need to meaningfully engage the voices and perspectives of youth. In keeping with the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Programme is founded on the belief that young people have the right to be heard, express opinions and be involved in decisions that affect them, and that when adolescents participate in the process of improving their own health states, better long-term outcomes are realised.
What did we want to achieve through the Programme?
With a focus on the prevention of the most common NCD's, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory disease, the Programme aims to improve the health of Canada's young people now and in the future.
- Enable professionals, mentors and peers to better identify, assess and support the physical, emotional and mental health needs of Canadian youth through evidence-based curriculum, training and resources.
- Improve youth access to timely and evidence-based information, resources and support services that can improve their physical health, strengthen their coping skills, and build emotional resilience.
- Advocate for the prioritisation of adolescent health and the inclusion of non-communicable disease prevention in local health policies and programmes.
What activities are taking place locally?
Working on its partners, the YHP Canada has co-created a number of on the ground programmes that are making a real difference for young Canadians, most notably:
- At My Best®: a school-based public health intervention that helps young Canadians establish habits that will help them grow up healthy. Co-founded by AstraZeneca Canada and Physical and Health Education (PHE) Canada in 2008, At My Best now reaches more than 120,000 Canadian youth each year, in more than 5,500 schools.
- Flex Your Head: developed with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada, this 12-module programme offers a series of group-based activities that promote mental health and address difficulties with depression and anxiety. Each year, Flex Your Head reaches thousands of youth, often in Canada's most vulnerable communities. Evaluation data has shown that Flex Your Head influences positive behaviour change for the youth who participate.
- Mind Your Mood: an easy-to-use, free mobile app that allows youth and young adults to track their moods securely on their phone. The app is available on iTunes and Google Play and has been downloaded by youth from Canada and around the world.
In addition, the Programme is actively involved in several local advocacy and awareness-building activities.
- The Teach Resiliency Initiative: a campaign to increase awareness of the need to better prepare Canadian teachers to help their students navigate common mental and emotional concerns.
- The Young Canadians Roundtable on Health: an advocacy group that is working to improve the health of young Canadians through collaboration research and education.
What has been achieved so far?
Since it's launch in 2011, the Programme's local outreach initiatives have directly reached an estimated 50,000 young Canadians, with thousand more people estimated to have been reached indirectly and/or through advocacy and awareness-building activities.
Our Local Partners
The Programme has partnered with several leading organisations that share the goal of improving the health and well-being of Canadian youth.
National partners and collaborators include:
- Physical and Health Education
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada
- The Sandbox Project
- The Young Canadians Roundtable on Health
1. Statistics Canada. Age-standardized mortality rates by selected causes, by sex (both sexes) https://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/csto1/health30-a-eng-htm. [updated 2014 Jan 28].
Page Atlas ID: 1025207.011
Date of next review: December 2017