Engage, Educate, Empower: Partnering with Canadian Families to Understand and Mitigate the Multifaceted Impacts of the COVID‑19 Pandemic on Child and Youth Wellbeing
On March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus COVID‑19 disease a global pandemic. In efforts to keep the public protected, the Canadian government has implemented physical distancing policies and widespread closure of public institutions. However, these measures have had unintentional consequences for Canadian youth, including disruptions to education, intake of misinformation, and increased levels of isolation, stress, and anxiety. Efforts to understand the impact of COVID‑19 on youth’s experiences, behaviours, and beliefs are needed to improve circumstances, knowledge and trust in this vulnerable population. Our team will address this gap through a national research study that will result in the development of a public education and engagement campaign. This will be achieved in three phases of work: 1) Online surveys with parents and youth to to create a comprehensive list of COVID‑19 associated policies and restrictions that most impacted their wellbeing; 2) Interviews with parents and youth to gain a deeper understanding of the major factors (stressors and protective mechanisms) influencing youth wellbeing; 3) development and application of targeted integrated knowledge translation interventions to inform social and public health responses and improve youth and family wellbeing. This study will complement ongoing parallel research in the adult population currently being conducted by our team with the ultimate goal to partner with Canadian youth and families to understand the detrimental and positive impacts of the pandemic and related restrictions on their wellbeing (health, connectedness, safety, learning, agency), and optimize opportunities for recovery and long-term resilience.