Community consultations were held with practitioners, policy makers, community members and a small group of youth with mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, unhealed trauma and addiction. We helped the youth to produce short digital stories about some of their difficulties in the community. A significant theme was a lack of belonging. Youth also identified helpful resources.The stories indicated a need for research on how to improve the mental well-being of youth and engender a sense of belonging. This participatory action research project will use a strength-based approach to 1)Identify effective strategies to increase the well being of youth suffering from mental health; 2)Investigate community responsiveness and inclusiveness; and 3) Find ways to build on current collaborations to expand and strengthen them. Youth will be involved in all stages of the project and will be paid members of the research team. A document review will determine effective resources and strategies that attract youth participation, foster social connectedness and increase positive mental health. Digital stories will be created to document youths' perceptions of services and programs/projects, and to make recommendations. Collaborative strategies to enhance youth involvement in building and enhancing community assets will be developed through community mapping and focus groups. Two community forums will develop solutions, share knowledge, build collaborations and enhance connectedness.
(Research Team: Sarah Fletcher, CHCR; Janice McMillan, School District 69; Carrie Barker, Island Health)