An initiative of the National Women’s Council of Ireland

Your Health Matters Campaign

 

What is Your Health Matters?

Your Health Matters is a The Y Factor campaign that seeks to enable young women to have a better understanding of what they can and should expect from healthcare providers in order to have more autonomy and control over their physical, mental and sexual and reproductive health. We want young people to be able to talk about their experiences of health and to be clear about how those experiences have been empowering or disempowering to them as young women.  We want young women to know what they should be entitled to in relation to healthcare and to know what options they have if that has not been available to them.  We want other people - like parents, educators, media and most importantly, healthcare providers to consider how young people - especially young women - are supported around their health. We want healthcare services to improve to provide young people with professional, open, respectful, informative and, where appropriate, confidential healthcare that will form the basis of their relationship with their health for the remainder of their lives.

 

How did Your Health Matters come about?

The Y Factor's Steering Group of young people were concerned about the kinds of experiences that they, their peers and friends were having when availing with health services.There is a strong emphasis currently on people taking responsibility for their own health, some people felt that they were still being treated like children, weren't being provided the confidentiality to which they were entitled and often felt judged or embarrassed during a healthcare visit.  They decided a campaign was necessary to explore how widely these experiences were shared, to provide accurate, accessible and realistic information to young people and to bring the issue to public attention with a view to improving how young people experience healthcare.  A working group of young women came together to figure out how to do this and they have developed the ideas for the campaign and continue to drive it.  

 

What will the campaign do?

There are a number of phases to the campaign:

Phase One

  • The working group initially developed a survey targeted at young people to try to find out more about their experiences of healthcare. The survey was posted on-line and shared with and by our friends and supporters.  In the space of 3 weeks, we had received 350 responses and it had revealed some interesting points - take a look at the short survey report here to see.
  • Based on this survey we developed Your Health Matters leaflets that we thought would be useful to young people in making clear what they could and should expect from their healthcare services.  You can download the Your Health Matters resource booklet to share with your friends, schools, youth groups or alternatively contact The Y Factor team to have hard copies sent to you by post.
  • We then produced a short film that outlines some of the types of experiences of healthcare they have had and want to highlight.
  • We launched the campaign on 11th October to celebrate International Day of the Girl and got really good coverage in the media - read more here.

Phase Two

  • NEXT we want YOU to get involved by:
  • Sharing this campaign among your friends, networks, peers, colleagues, schools, youth projects - anyone you know that thinks this is an important issue for young women. You can find information, resources, stories and campaign updates here on our website or on the Your Health Matters Facebook page.
  • Telling us your story or issue in relation to healthcare and young people. The Y Factor provides a space for young people to get their voices heard and the more we build our knowledge of how young people really experience healthcare, the more effective our campaign will be. Add your voice to those of Jennifer, Leanne, Kathy and Meabh from our video - you don't even have to give your real name!  You can do this by emailing theyfactor@nwci.ie, by posting or sending a message to our Facebook page. We will guarantee your privacy if you would not like your name to be used.  If you fancy writing a blog on the issue - we'd LOVE to read and it share it on our page

  • Telling us what you think needs to change in terms of how healthcare providers treat young people.  
  • Asking your school or youth project to focus on the issue of health for young women.
  • Letting us know of POSITIVE youth health initiatives you know about in your area.
  • Telling us if you'd like to join the Your Health Matters working group or volunteer in other ways with The Y Factor.

Phase Three

  • THEN we want to bring the key issues that need addressing to the attention of healthcare providers and policy makers so that we can actually CHANGE how healthcare is delivered to young people.

We want to hear from you!

Contact us at theyfactor@nwci.ie

Your involvement is key in making Your Health Matters a success.    The Y Factor is actutely aware that not all women have the same life experiences. We particularly want to hear from young people under the age of 18, those with disabilities, those from minority ethnic groups - including Travellers, LGBTQ people, or if you live in a rural or disadvantaged area.

Remember:  You've got a voice, your experiences are valid and together Your Health Matters can bring about change for young people!

 

Click here to read more about the Your Health Matters Giveaway.