A sustained commitment to supporting Ontario's youth

Building on the framework components, Stepping Up also includes a renewed commitment from the Government of Ontario to supporting the wellbeing of Ontario's youth.

Ontario's profile of youth wellbeing

In addition to establishing a common vision and principles and articulating our priorities for youth, the Government of Ontario is making a commitment to provide a picture of how Ontario's youth are doing.

For each of the 20 outcomes discussed in Stepping Up, one or more indicators have been selected to assess the experiences of youth. These indicators are presented at the end of each outcome section. As a whole, the indicators presented in Stepping Up provide a strong basis for us to understand how youth are doing in Ontario and to monitor changes in their experiences over time. The indicators presented throughout Stepping Up have been selected based on available data about youth in Ontario. In some places, you may find that the indicators do not perfectly measure all aspects of each outcome – this is due to limitations in the availability of research and data. As new data becomes available, we will continue to enhance the indicators used in Stepping Up to be sure we can tell the most complete possible story about how youth are doing.

Collectively, the outcomes and indicators presented in Stepping Up have been compiled together to form the Profile of Youth Wellbeing (see cross-cutting actions) which will be used as a resource to describe and monitor the overall state of youth wellbeing in the province over time. This profile provides a platform for ongoing, evidence-based dialogue about changes related to these priorities and outcomes. As a part of the Profile of Youth Wellbeing, the Government of Ontario is committing to present an annual update on the wellbeing of youth in conjunction with future Poverty Reduction Strategy Annual Reports. Although the profile does not describe the experiences of individual youth, it provides the questions that we can ask young people about how they are faring. Through ongoing annual reports on youth wellbeing, the Province will consider the different experiences that specific groups of young people may be facing.

Cross-cutting actions

In order to support progress toward our desired outcomes for youth, the Government of Ontario is committing to a number of cross-cutting actions. These actions focus on setting the conditions for success and maximizing the efforts of all those who are working to support youth. We want to do a better job of identifying needs, monitoring progress, enabling innovation and supporting effective practices. We recognize that there are a number of areas where changes are required across sectors in order to facilitate progress. In order to establish these foundations for success, we are committed to:

  1. Provide sustained, positive-oriented leadership
  2. Focus on the needs of marginalized youth
  3. Support collaboration, local planning and partnership
  4. Increase youth voice in design and delivery of services
  5. Increase capacity to better serve diverse and marginalized youth
  6. Support research and evaluation
  7. Provide updates and information on the wellbeing of Ontario's youth

For more information on these cross-cutting actions, see PART 4.

Stepping Up: The new mentality

Case study

The New Mentality is an initiative of Children's Mental Health Ontario that seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of children and youth in Ontario. The New Mentality provides opportunities for youth leadership and youth voice within mental health agencies and the system at large. The New Mentality partners with local agencies to host New Mentality Groups across the province led by youth. Together, youth leaders and their "Adult Ally" hold student conferences around their community to combat stigma, create public awareness, and share their stories of treatment and recovery.

The Halton New Mentality Group and Reach Out Centre for Kids

Over a three-year period, the Halton New Mentality Group, working in partnership with the Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK) published and distributed a magazine, gave presentations to schools and community groups, and initiated an annual conference to help students implement school-based mental health groups.

In 2010, I attended my first New Mentality conference. I knew immediately I wanted to join so I could help raise awareness of mental health and stop the stigma associated with being mentally ill. As a facilitator, I have worked with such amazing people at The New Mentality and ROCK. Together, we have definitely left an impression and have initiated change in Halton. Young people who have attended one of our conferences or picked up our magazine have all said such positive things. It just goes to show that youth can make a change, be it big or small.

The New Mentality is something I take pride in. It has made me realize that this is what I love to do and has made me want to pursue a career with youth mental health and addictions.

ROCK Youth Leader Aatayna

The New Mentality supports youth voice in the mental health system.ROCK has been involved with The New Mentality for about five years. As an Adult Ally, I love to see the creativity, enthusiasm and energy of the young people I work with. They are all highly motivated and eager to get involved. This past fall, they worked very hard to plan a successful conference in Halton. There was a positive atmosphere at that youth conference, with everyone in the auditorium feeling connected and comfortable talking about mental health.

The New Mentality enables us to connect with our community to have meaningful conversations about what matters.

Kelly Giuliani, ROCK Adult Ally