This article has been adapted from news stories on the AYPH website
A Fair and Equal Opportunity to Enjoy Good Health: A Young People’s Toolkit has recently been launched. The Association for Young People’s Health (AYPH) led the co-production of the toolkit with young people and SPHR researchers, funded by the NIHR School for Public Health Research. AYPH is a charity that works to understand and meet the particular health and wellbeing needs of 10–25 year olds.
The research asked young people in the North-East of England, South Yorkshire and London to think about the things that make it easier or harder to enjoy good health where they live, what health inequality means to them, and their priorities for change in improving health in their area. The young people then went on to take the themes that came up in the research and develop the toolkit that also includes two animations which bring the stories they spoke about to life.
After the research, AYPH worked with young people and researchers to develop the content for the toolkit and co-produce the final product. This included creating four characters who share experiences of health inequalities highlighted in the research and young people’s ideas for action.
The toolkit gives ideas of how young people all over the UK can get involved in creating positive changes in their communities. Themes include safety in community places, access to healthy food and physical activities, and equal access to career opportunities and advice.
It also includes a section on rights, highlighting that good health is something every young person is entitled to. Young people selected seven rights from the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, which they thought were particularly important when thinking about making sure everyone has the chance to enjoy good health.
The lesson plans, developed by the PSHE Association, use the toolkit to support these messages and help teachers to address aspects of the statutory guidance for Relationships, Sex and Health Education, including challenging stereotypes and stigma and understanding how these can cause harm.
Young people have been at the heart of this project and have co-produced an exciting and versatile resource that can be used in youth groups, schools and other settings providing ideas, information and inspiration about equal access to good health.
AYPH asked a young person, involved in the research to think back on what the process had been like.
“I really enjoyed being able to be part of such an amazing process creating the health inequalities toolkit with people from all around the country from young peoples to researchers at the various universities. I think it was such an amazing idea getting young people involved …. as it is important to be able to see the thoughts and processes used when creating a toolkit like this as a young person it gives an insight into how everything is being thought out, it also allowed us to have an input and have our opinions heard surrounding the toolkit from the content itself to the design. Hopefully it will be used up and down the country and shared with young people who are able to learn something from the toolkit.”
Dr Hannah Fairbrother, SPHR researcher who led on the project says:
“Our project recognises young people’s potential as advocates, changemakers and co-producers. We hope that the toolkit provides a really accessible and engaging way for young people across the country to share ideas, inspiration and information to work towards reducing health inequalities. In the next round of SPHR we’re hoping to build on this project through a multi-site, appreciative inquiry of the role of community-led initiatives in supporting young people’s mental health”.