Youth Engagement

Screenshot of front page of the youth connections implementation guide

Youth Connections Ottawa (YCO) is a peer-to-peer program which aims to contribute to positive mental health and substance use health of Ottawa youth. YCO aims to meaningfully engage youth to enhance their knowledge of mental health and increase positive behaviours and strategies for wellbeing. YCO uses a peer-to-peer approach, where peer leaders are supported by adult allies to learn about mental health and substance use health and then encouraged to develop activities, events and initiatives for their peers. This program recognizes that youth are often more receptive to messaging that comes from their peers. These peer leaders have their own knowledge based on lived and living experience and can help ensure that the program is delivered in a way other youth can relate to. The YCO program has been designed so that it can be easily customized to the needs of Ottawa’s many diverse communities. 

The resources and activities are evidence-based and have been developed using the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario’s (RNAO) Youth Mental Health and Addiction Champion (YMHAC) Toolkit.

Youth Connections Ottawa - Implementation Guide: A Toolkit for Implementation of the Youth Connections Ottawa Peer-to-Peer Program (pdf - 8 MB)

Project Partners:

This guide is a collaboration between Ottawa Public Health (OPH), the Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB), le Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE), and le Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario (CEPEO).

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