Youth Advisory Group
In 2009, AACAP approved a policy to involve families and youth in decision-making and to enable them to have an active role in their treatment (AACAP policy, 2009). As described in the policy statement, "families, youth and professionals have different sets of knowledge, experience and beliefs offering unique skill sets and expertise." As such, youth and families should be actively involved in treatment decisions, and also in educating themselves and others. Empowering families and youth to be involved in the treatment process is an important part of helping them be part of clinical decision-making.
Consumer advocacy groups, including youth groups, play a key role in providing a "voice" for youth and families. AACAP, as an important "public face" of child and adolescent psychiatry, is committed to promoting a partnership with youth and families to improve the mental health of children and adolescents. The educational materials previously developed by the AACAP are mainly reflective of the experiences of the child and adolescent psychiatrist. While these materials offer a wealth of information, families and youth have been less involved in developing these educational materials. The AACAP Youth Advisory Group, made up of youth and young adults, promotes youth voice by developing educational materials for youth as well as for child and adolescent psychiatrists in the Youth section of the AACAP website.
The group developed this section of our site and the materials in it including:
- A Youth Voice Tip Sheet that provides guidance for how child and adolescent psychiatrists can more effectively communicate and partner with young people.
- Videos about living with mental illnesss and how mental illness has affected their lives.
Goals of the Advisory Group
Originally, the primary goal of developing a youth advisory group was to create a youth section of the AACAP with educational materials including videos and information by youth for youth as well as professionals.
Over time, we have developed additional goals in our work with our youth partners including:
- To promote youth empowerment within the AACAP organization and within the behavioral health system.
- To provide travel scholarships to youth for attending AACAP's annual meeting and sharing their experiences through presentations to enhance member's awareness of the consumer voice and facilitate communication/collaboration between professionals and youth.
The information on this website should not be taken as medical advice, which can only be given to you by your personal health care professionals.