Portrait of youth wellbeing in Quebec: how are our youth really doing?
The Fondation Jeunes en Tête has unveiled its first Portrait of the wellbeing of Quebec youth aged 11 to 17. This exercise, which combines data from the most recent statistical surveys, confirms that concerted action is needed to improve youth wellbeing. The organization wishes to make the data in this portrait available to equip and guide the actions of regional and provincial organizations.
A unique portrait
The Portrait of Youth Wellbeing in Quebec is a scientific tool produced for the Fondation Jeunes en Tête at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) by the Observatoire Jeunes et Société (OJS). This exercise is a first for the province, especially since it looks at each of Quebec’s regions. It measures youth wellbeing through the statistical study of six dimensions: material conditions, education, physical and mental health, living environment and subjective wellbeing.
“We found that for some indicators, youth are doing better than before, but the opposite is true for others. This portrait lets us better understand the challenges faced by Quebec’s youth today in terms of their overall wellbeing, but especially their mental health challenges, which are at the heart of our foundation’s mission,” stated Catherine Burrows, Director of Youth Services at the Fondation Jeunes en Tête.
“This is the most comprehensive study of youth wellbeing in Quebec. The data is drawn from major surveys conducted by Statistics Canada and the Institut de la Statistique du Québec, as well as administrative data collected by certain Quebec ministries,” added Nicole Gallant, full professor with the INRS (University of Québec and scientific head of the Portrait).
More than a third of adolescents experience psychological distress
The Foundation has focused heavily on mental health, as its mission is to prevent psychological distress in youth. After all, many data have shown that more than one third of Quebec adolescents aged 15 to 17 (37.3%) have a high level of psychological distress. More than one in two youth say they have felt sad or depressed in the past month. Young girls are almost twice as likely to report experiencing psychological distress as young boys.
Let’s work together for youth wellbeing
It has been shown that concerted action by those involved in young people’s lives—whether they be schools, healthcare professionals or the government—have promising and lasting effects on young people.
The youth support ecosystem is alive and well in Quebec, but there is still room for improvement in prevention, awareness and access to care so that young people in distress no longer fall through the cracks.
The Foundation therefore welcomes the government’s commitment to implementing a youth mental health action plan in 2020, as well as the organizations and foundations that are speaking out to make youth wellbeing a priority.