Sharing Youth’s Storiis of COVID: Youth voice as a basis of understanding the broader impacts of adaptations in youth programming with a focus on micro populations

Lawford, Heather | $149,809

Quebec Bishop's University 2021 CIHR Operating Grant

This study invites 1,000 Canadian youth who are LGBTQ2, rural, Indigenous, racialized, in-care, and living with disabilities to share how COVID‑19 and the restrictions it caused affected them. The study is led by Heather Lawford (Bishop’s University) and Heather Ramey (Brock University) in collaboration with Tanya Halsall, Yana Berardini, Nishad Khanna and The Students Commission of Canada (SCC), a national charitable youth organization. SCC will support other organizations across Canada to engage in the research. Adults and youth from these organizations will form advisory groups to participate in every aspect of the process. Together, they will explore how unique populations of youth might have been affected in different or similar ways by program and service changes that schools, recreation centres, doctors, employers, families etc. made throughout the pandemic. How did these changes affect young people’s mental and physical health, their growth and development, and their relationships? Did some changes improve life for some youth? Were some changes more harmful than others? Findings from this study will be shared with all the participating youth and organizations, as well as at SCC’s annual national #CanadaWeWant events. During these, youth members of the study’s advisory committees will present findings to decision-makers, policy-makers and youth. The advisory groups will also advise on other ways to share knowledge from this study with their communities. Results will inform governments and organizations know what changes they made during COVID‑19 that they should keep doing: for example, increased on-line services that improved access to mental health counsellors. It will also increase understanding of inequities and harms that some youth from these populations experienced, so that these can be addressed through post COVID‑19 programming and services. Youth voice and participation integrated with research is critical if we are going to “build back better.”

With funding from the Government of Canada

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