Young people will experience significant social, emotional, physiological and psychological changes as they develop. This can lead to considerable fluctuations in their health and wellbeing. Young people can also experience a range of barriers when accessing health services. For instance cost, discrimination, lack of transport, confidentiality, stigma and a general lack of awareness that services exist can all pose problems for young people seeking to access those health services.
Sexual health and development is one aspect of young people’s overall health development. Though most young people experience these changes without significant problems, some young people need targeted support during their transitions. Young people require access to information, skill building, support and services to help them manage their individual changes as they occur.
Youth workers play a vital role in providing access to health and medical services through health promotion, partnerships and referrals. Those who work with young people are well placed to recognise the needs of young people who experience systemic disadvantage in their access to quality health care. Therefore, even if a worker does not have specific health expertise it is important that workers are involved in assisting young people to access relevant health services.
You can significantly assist young people in accessing healthcare by making them aware of the health services available to them, exploring their concerns, researching questions they may have, referring and encouraging them to access youth friendly health professionals, and advocating for them if necessary.
Make young people aware of their health rights, which include the right to:
The following are more ideas to assist young people wanting to access healthcare services:
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