Youth Health

Youth Health is the range of approaches to preventing, detecting or treating young people’s health and well being (WHO, 2001). The term adolescent and young people are often used interchangeably, as are the terms Adolescent Health and Youth Health.

Young people’s health is of often complex and requires a comprehensive, biopsychosocial approach (NSW Health, 1998).

Key Health Services for Young People

Youth Health includes adolescent medicine as a speciality, along with other primary and tertiary care services.

Key health services for young people:
*Adolescent medicine
*Child protection
*Drug and Alcohol services and Youth Drug courts
*General practitioners
*Justice Health
*Mental Health services
*School health services
*Sexual health services
*Social work
*Transition care
*Youth health nursing
*Youth health services and 'one-stop-shops' for young people
*Youth work and youth development services
*Web based supports such as Reach Out!

Capacity building organisations support the Youth Health sector by providing access to information and resources, conducting research and providing training.

Key Youth Health Problems

Key Features of Youth Health Problems Young people engage in risky behaviours that affect their health and therefore the majority of health problems are psychosocial. Many young people experience multiple problems. These behaviours are established as a young person and go on to become the lifestyles of adults leading to chronic health problems. Social, cultural and environmental factors are all important (Chown et al 2004).

The leading health related problems in the age group 12 – 24 years are (AIHW, 2007):
*Accidents and injuries both unintentional and self-injury
*Mental health problems including depression and suicide
*Behavioural problems including substance abuse
*Sexual health / Infectious diseases
*Nutrition and physical activity
*Chronic illness
*Physical and Sexual Assault
*Youth homelessness
*Young parents
Factors Influencing Health and Wellbeing according to the Australian National Youth Information Framework (AIHW, 2007) include:
*Environmental factors
*Socio-economic factors
*Community capacity
*Health behaviours
*Person related factors

Key Principles in Youth Health

*Collaborative approaches
*Evidence-based practice
*Harm reduction
*Health promotion
*Social justice
*Youth development
*Youth empowerment
*Youth participation
*Youth rights
*Youth voice

Young Peoples Access to Health Care

Studies have identified major barriers to young peoples’ access to appropriate health care are (Booth et al, 2002) including concerns about confidentiality, practitioners attitudes and communication style, environment, availability of services, cost and the developmental characteristics of young people.

Overcoming young peoples barriers to accessing health care
Princplies for overcomming the barriers to young peoples’ access to appropriate health care (Kang et al, 2005, CAAH, 2006) include:

1. Access facilitation
2. Evidence-based practice
3. Youth participation
4. Collaboration
5. Professional development
6. Sustainability
7. Evaluation

Youth Participation

Youth health polices also recognise the need active participation with young people so that services are appropriate and have an understanding of their needs (NSW Health, 1998). "Taking Participation Seriously" is a resource for organisations who want practical advice about how to involve children and young people in activities, events and decision-making about issues that affect their lives (NSW Commission for Children and Young People, 2002).

External links

* [ Canadian Association for Adolescent Health]
* [ International Alliance for Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Schools]
* [ International Association for Adolescent Health]
* [ International Childhood and Youth Research Network (ICYRNet)]
* [ NSW Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health]
* [ New Zealand Aotearoa Adolescent Health and Development]
* [ Irish National Youth Website ]
* [ Society for Research on Adolescents]
* [ WHO Adolescent Health]
* [ WHO Child and Adolescent Health and Development]
* [ The Bridge Back To Life Foundation]


* [Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2007, Young Australians: their health and wellbeing 2007, Australian Government]
* [ Booth M, Bernard D, Quine S, Kang M, Beasley L, Usherwood T, Aperstein G & Bennett D (2002) Access to health care among NSW adolescents: Phase 1 Final Report. Sydney: NSW Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.]
* [ Chown P, Kang M, Sanci L, Newnham V and Bennett D (2008) Adolescent Health: enhancing the skills of General Practitioners in caring for young people from culturally diverse backgrounds, NSW Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health and Transcultural Mental Health Centre.]
*Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development, WHO (2001) Global Consultation on Adolescent Friendly Health Services, a consensus statement, GENEVA, 7-9 MARCH 2001
* [ Kang M, Bernard D, Usherwood T, Quine S, Aperstein G, Kerr-Roubicek H, Elliott A & Bennett D (2005) Better Practice in Youth Health: Final Report on Research Study Access to Health Care Among Young People in New South Wales: Phase 2. Sydney: NSW Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.]
* [ NSW CAAH (2005) Young People’s Access to Health Care: Exploring Youth Health Programs and Approaches in NSW, NSW Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health / The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Westmead NSW.]
* [ NSW CAAH (2006) ACCESS Study: Youth Health -Youth Health Better Practice Framework Factsheets, NSW Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health/ The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.]
* [ NSW Commission for Children and Young People (2002) Taking Participation Seriously, NSW Commission for Children and Young People, Surry Hills.]
*NSW Health (1998) Young People’s Health: Our Future. Gladesville: Better Health Centre.

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