Youth investigation identifies gaps in health and social care

A report setting out the changes young people would like to see in health and social care in Scotland has been presented to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport Shona Robison at the Scottish Parliament.

The report was researched and compiled by the Healthier Scotland Youth Investigation Team, a group of 11 young people aged 15 to 23. The group engaged with young people from across Scotland to develop recommendations for the Scottish Government with support from Young Scot, Scotland’s youth information and citizenship charity.

From their research the Youth Investigation team identified four key areas that need to be addressed:

  • Changing physical health and social education and physical education curriculums in Scottish secondary schools to ensure all young people have the knowledge and tools to live healthy lives.
  • Introducing a zero tolerance system on stigmatization so that young people have the knowledge they need to understand mental health, wellbeing and the negative effects that stigma can have.
  • Health and social care professionals should improve their relationship with young people through more accessible services and better communication.
  • Young people need to understand how healthy eating and fitness effects their bodies to encourage healthy lifestyle and behavior.

Key actions from the report include involving young people and teachers in the co-design of health and social curriculum, ending performance segregation in physical education so everyone can get involved in sport regardless of ability, and arranging school trips to visit clinics or hospitals to break down barriers and misconceptions.

Other recommendations include inviting healthcare professionals into the classroom, helping young people understand the dangers of self-diagnosis on the internet, and offering free or discounted access to leisure and fitness facilities with the Young Scot Card National Entitlement Card.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: “Young people care passionately about the issues affecting them, their families, friends and communities, and the Young Scot Youth Investigation Team has embraced this opportunity to contribute to our ‘Creating a Healthier Scotland’ national conversation.

Cameron Fraser, member of the Youth Investigation team said: “Working on the Healthier Scotland project has been one of the most beneficial and enhancing experiences of my teenage years. Not only that but I have come together on many occasions with wonderful and memorable people many of whom have opened my eyes to the incredibly diverse and talented sphere of Scotland’s young generation. Through research and team work we have come together to help conquer the issues surrounding the health of Scotland’s younger generation”

“This well thought out report shows that our young people have carefully considered what matters to them about health and social care and are making a positive contribution towards the shaping of policy. I thank the team for their work and hope they build on this and make the most of an excellent opportunity to become innovators, and to spread their learning as far as possible.”

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive of Young Scot, said “The youth investigation team has worked incredibly hard over the last year to develop this report and gather opinions from young people across the country. The report is full of great ideas for to improve health care for young people across Scotland. We hope that this report will make a huge difference by influencing health and social policy in the future.”

You can access the full Creating a Healthier Scotland report here