Youth mental health and COVID-19: Longitudinal trajectories and youth-generated recommendations for Canada’s recovery and future planning
Youth have experienced substantial impacts from the COVID‑19 pandemic and related public health measures. These include impacts on their schooling, jobs, relationships, services, emerging independence, and mental health. This proposal extends our work on COVID‑19 and youth and emerges directly from discussion with our youth co-researchers. We propose three research activities: 1)Youth mental health survey extension. We have been surveying youth every two months since April 2020. Under this funding, we will survey them two more times, i.e., at six months and 12 months after the last survey we conducted under the previous funding. Together, this will provide a 2.5 year picture of youth MHSU and other COVID‑19 impacts, among youth with previous MHSU concerns and youth without. 2)Youth consensus statement on a pandemic recovery strategy. Youth will generate concrete, implementation-ready recommendations for policymakers to ensure that Canada’s recovery from COVID‑19 will support youth MHSU, economic and educational recovery for youth, and holistic wellness across life domains. 3)Youth consensus statement on response strategies for the next pandemic. This project, identified as a top priority by our youth co-researchers, will develop youth-derived recommendations that will equip policymakers to respond more effectively to the next pandemic or public health emergency. As COVID‑19 case counts decline and our hopes rise that Canada may be entering its recovery from the pandemic, the country will soon embark on a new phase of decision-making and planning. This project ensures that governments, policymakers, and decision-makers will have direct access to recommendations co-developed with youth to support youth-oriented, population-based decisions for Canada’s recovery from COVID-19.