Four young people sit together at a table while talking.

Humber is hosting the Etobicoke Youth Wellness Event on June 8 that will bring together young people from across Etobicoke for an afternoon of workshops and discussions on youth mental health and wellness, open mic challenge, workshops, entertainment and fun.

It’s taking place on Saturday, June 8 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation at North Campus and is for those aged 14-29.   

Several local and city-wide services and programs that promote the well-being of young people will also be featured at information booths during the event. Workshops on offer will address various aspects of well-being that are important to young people's healthy development including health and wellness, problem solving, employment readiness and financial literacy.

The workshops and information booth topics will also focus on a range of issues that impact the well-being of young people including low income, precarious employment and housing, poor mental health, and language and culture adjustments as newcomers to Canada.

A collage of photos, pamphlets, images and other material on a corkboard.

The event will also be an opportunity to launch the findings of a research project that was conducted with more than 100 young people from the community on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of youth (18 to 25 years) in North Etobicoke. A cross-faculty and interdisciplinary team of researchers with the Centre for Innovation in Health & Wellness (CIHW), including Humber students who were hired as research assistants, engaged in a mixed-methods research methodology for this research project.  
The Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on Youth Mental Health in North Etobicoke report’s purpose was to understand and learn directly from youth on their experiences of living through the COVID-19 pandemic, their pandemic recovery needs for community-based mental health programs and the identification of existing gaps in youth services.

“What we heard from youth was the real impact that COVID-19 pandemic had on their life and overall well-being,” said Vanita Varma, director of Humber’s Centre for Innovation in Health & Wellness.

The findings showed that 96 per cent of respondents shared that access to education and knowledge on mental well-being was important while 95 per cent felt it was important to have access to free, in-person mental health counselling services in the community. Also, 93 per cent want more spaces for youth socialization in the community.

What Varma liked about the report is that it connected directly with local youth and provided an opportunity for them to share their thoughts and voices Varma said that was extremely valuable because, instead of making assumptions, it came directly from the lived experiences of youth in the community.

Varma said, in the report, it notes that some youth didn’t want to take advantage of the online counselling services made available to them. That struck Varma as somewhat surprising considering how tech savvy the younger generation is for the most part. However, Varma noted that the youth responded and shared that they didn’t have any privacy at home and didn’t always feel comfortable talking openly and honestly with family nearby. So, the youth suggested that they would be more comfortable doing these sessions in-person.

A logo that reads Humber Centre for Innovation in Health & Wellness.

Copies of the executive summary of the research report will be available at the event.  

Those interested in attending the Etobicoke Youth Wellness Event are asked to register at the event’s registration website.