Putting Youth in the Picture: A Mental Health Community Snapshot


Putting Youth in the Picture: A Mental Health Community Snapshot

4 years ago 4 years ago Published by
This report was published by the Provincial Advocate for Children & Youth.


Much has been written and discussed by adults about child and youth mental health. They have painted the broad strokes of what an excellent mental health system should look like, the problems with our current system, and the changes needed. As our Office’s responsibility is to listen to and elevate the voices of children and youth within our mandate, we wanted to speak directly with young people to hear their thoughts about mental health.

Through the process chronicled in this report, we found that young people had many ideas and were excited to give their opinions. To a large extent they agreed with the general directions described by the adults in mental health policies and frameworks. As well, they were able to add specific information from their lived experience as young people and their own local context. They have provided a wealth of detail that explains the importance and interconnections of their homes, families, schools, and communities. They have also given information about a range of recurring themes, including the foundations of good mental health, how to make community spaces appealing, and the role of supportive adults in their lives. This is a level of detail that we could not expect from adults, yet is very important in planning and implementing services that young people will want to use and will find effective.

This report helps to put youth into the picture. It is our hope that it demonstrates that while experts in the field and concerned adults can paint a picture with broad strokes, young people can fill in that same picture with colour and detail. The result is a picture of mental health that can be supported by all.

Provincial Advocate for Children & Youth. (2013). Putting Youth in the Picture: A Mental Health Community Snapshot. Toronto, ON: Author. Retrieved from

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