BLOOM and its Youth Partners
I was recently invited to join the youth council of the Center of Excellence in Youth Mental Health. As a youth partner, last month I attended a meeting regarding one of the CEYMH’s projects called BLOOM, an acronym for the following phrase: Behavioural development, Long term Outcomes and Opportunities to optimize Youth Mental Health trajectories.
Here is what I learned during our meeting: The BLOOM project is being innovatively developed. It’s not only mental health professionals that are involved in the program’s development. It is equally, young individuals with their own personal experiences relative to mental health that are taking part in BLOOM’s endeavours. The youth council is a representation of the individuals who eventually will have access to this service!
Personally, I have dealt with my own mental health experiences since age 15. Since then, I have had periods of contentment and comfort… but I have also had periods of great discouragement and difficulty. I am incredibly grateful to have had access to certain systems of support, mental health and social organizations in the past when I really needed them. I would go so far as to say that without them, I don’t know where I would be today, or even if I would be here today. But I also believe that we need more accessible public projects & services available to youth to ensure their safety and support. That being said, I believe we can never have too many mental health organisations, programs or services to ensure the wellbeing of our youth, people and society as a whole. There are youth still on waiting lists to have access to public services, and sometimes their need for specialized support is quite urgent & can be life changing.
BLOOM is a soon to be accessible youth mental health program. It will be available to youth and their families. What better way to create an effective program for youth mental health, than to create the program fully considering the ideas and feedback of youth with their own lived mental health experiences? And to include them in the program’s development?