Youth and young adults (YYA) make broad decisions about their health and well-being, with concerns about other areas of their life impacting their decision-making process. For YYA, social networks and peer support can help reduce the amount of stigma faced as a result of one’s age, race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Social networks—one of the essential factors in a YYA’s decision-making process—improve social well-being and overall wellness. YYA juggle numerous responsibilities and make decisions based on factors like education, housing, physical activity, and social networks. Because of the impact these decisions have on their wellness, YYA benefit from being aware of how mental well-being and physical well-being affect each other.

Care providers can involve YYA in their care decisions and give YYA the resources to make informed decisions about their wellness. Well-being should be approached holistically with the understanding that physical well-being can assist mental well-being and vice versa. Physical health, mental health, and substance use treatment providers should incorporate the Eight Dimensions of Wellness into the services and treatment plans they provide to this demographic.

Cultural activation of YYA can involve them in care decisions and help them remain engaged in their path to well-being. Cultural activation is the involvement of a client’s cultural identities and practices within their treatment plan. This will further engage the client in their care and treatment, leading to sustained behavior change and a healthy relationship with service providers. Many YYA will be transitioning out of pediatric care and may be underprepared for this transition. Service providers can develop a plan with clients to introduce them to adult care and maintain engagement with the care system.

This resource was first shared in 2018.

(Infographic: PDF, 4 MB; Text Alternative: PDF, 179 KB)