An Overview of the HEALYAC’s Interactive Webinar!
On Friday, April 16th the Human Environments Analysis Laboratory (HEAL) along with the HEAL Youth Advisory Council (HEALYAC) held a webinar on the Impact of COVID-19 on adolescent’s wellbeing and health-related habits. The webinar featured presentations from Dr. Gina Martin and Dr. Kendra Nelson Ferguson, showcasing quantitative and qualitative findings from the HEAL’s QuaranTEENing research study. Findings from the research indicated that although youth were experiencing a lot of negative emotions (e.g., loss, loneliness), they engaged in positive coping strategies (e.g., physical activity, hobbies) to alleviate their distress. The research presented also provided insight to the need for supports for adolescents experiencing declines in mental wellbeing, specifically for female and older adolescents.
The webinar also featured a great discussion from our panelist which included three HEALYAC members as well as Dr. Javeed Sukhera. The youth panelist provided their own perspective on how the pandemic has been affecting youth. One specific question from the audience on resources and tools to support youth provided some great insight from our youth. Our youth panelists who were in university noted an increase in resources and access for support throughout the pandemic. However, our youth panelist in high school noted a lack in resources and knowledge on how to access support. This demonstrated that although resources exist, they aren’t always easily accessible, especially to some younger youth. Dr. Javeed Sukhera also provided his expertise in the field of youth and mental health and the importance on including youth into the conversation. He noted that “When talking about youth mental health we should be guided by youth themselves, rather than adults making abstract generalizations”.
The webinar was a great success with over 150 people registering for the event, allowing for some great questions from our audience. If you were unable to attend the webinar a recording will be shared at www.theheal.ca