Mackenzie (She/Her) is a member of The Grove Wellington Guelph Clinical Team from Palmerston Ontario
Our community is experiencing a youth mental health crisis. Young people are struggling with mental health, wellness, and addictions. At The Grove Wellington Guelph, we see many youth each day who are experiencing social or developmental challenges right now, or have at some point in their lives. With the negative effects of the pandemic still being felt by young people in our community, youth are struggling with isolation, engagement, and maintaining long-term relationships or making new ones. These concerns continue to impact their day-to-day lives, and inhibit them from living their lives to the fullest. Youth in our community deserve to flourish during their adolescence and find joy and fulfillment in their academic and social experiences.
It is also fair to say that many youth in our community have experimented with some form of substance use, at some point. Substance use, and the personality and decision-making behaviours and habits that contribute to youths' use of illicit substances can also have an impact on their overall mental wellness. So, having the opportunity to offer youth-specific programming related to these experiences is extremely valuable and an important component to responding to the youth mental health crisis in our community through positive and effective service delivery.
As a member of The Grove Wellington Guelph Clinical Team at the Palmerston site, I have been involved in the implementation of PreVenture. The PreVenture program aims to allow youth to take the driver’s seat in their own lives and build self-efficacy and regulation skills through personality-focused workshops.
Across our sites, youth have the opportunity to complete personality-based questionnaires. Youth are then divided into one of four possible groups based on their personality type including Negative Thinking, Anxiety Sensitivity, Impulsivity and Sensation Seeking. Since introducing this programming across The Grove’s sites, our team has noticed youth taking a genuine interest in getting to know themselves and their personality types better, to make informed decisions and connect with one another on their results.
Within their specific workshops, youth are able to follow along and take notes in their workbooks as facilitators help them to set goals and identify negative thought patterns that impact their personality and decision-making habits. The facilitators are there to guide discussion and tie in key concepts, but the focus of the workshop is to engage with youth and learn from each other’s experiences, as they relate to key concepts.
The goal is for youth to develop skills that will help them to manage social challenges including peer pressure, interpersonal conflict, and identity development, while also promoting positive mental health and encouraging the delay of substance use. Many youth have shared that they like learning what to do when they’re feeling sad, angry, or upset. The workbook provides alternative solutions to real-life examples of scenarios that youth and adolescents experience and promotes problem-solving through self-guided activities. Youth get to take this with them when they complete both sessions to look back on whenever they need it.
It is a difficult time to be a young person right now. With the world changing so rapidly and the impacts of the pandemic continuing to be felt, it is not as easy for youth to return to social circles, reintegrate into school life, and show up as their best selves. Too much pressure can contribute to a lack of motivation, mental health concerns, and wanting to withdraw from school, friends and family, and experiment with drug use.
By providing youth with specific resources that cover topics and experiences they are familiar with, there is the opportunity to build positive coping mechanisms and develop strategies that contribute to goal setting and success.
Through this program, we are hoping to build more resilient, motivated, and compassionate youth within our local communities. PreVenture equips youth with better knowledge of themselves, empowers them to take charge of their own life, and provides them with the adaptive skills they need to weigh the positive and negative consequences of making both immediate and long-term decisions.
The resources and services provided to local youth through The Grove Wellington Guelph use a proven service-delivery model designed for youth by youth. Meant to meet the needs of youth from wherever they may be in their mental health and wellness journey, The Grove Wellington Guelph and our team of professionals and partners want to see youth be the best possible versions of themselves. By making programming like PreVenture available to youth across Guelph and Wellington County, particularly in our rural communities, they have the opportunity to learn more about themselves and build the skills they need to make positive decisions as they encounter challenges and changes, opportunities, and different social situations.
It is vital to the well-being of our local community that these resources are available and that youth are encouraged to get to know themselves in welcoming and positive ways. At The Grove Wellington Guelph, we want youth to understand we are here for them, and committed to providing youth specific programming and opportunities. PreVenture is one of many engaging programs offered by our team. If you are interested in learning more about PreVenture or about other services offered through The Grove, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.