Can young people be advocates for their own health care? Can they be spokespeople for the health care needs of their peers?
What a tough question. I think back to when I was in high school and I knew little to nothing about accessing health care or the health care system itself. I’m very thankful that I never had to worry about either of these issues as well.
So when we live in a society that makes it hard for, possibly even discourages, young people to be involved in their receiving appropriate health care, how do we get them to be advocates.
Because it’s not enough to put petitions in their hands, get them fired up and send them in to talk to Legislators. They need to understand the relationship between health care to the world around them.
The relationship between health care and the people who are making the decisions.
The relationship between health care and the school community, because we know that no matter how great the school or teacher are, if student isn’t healthy, safe and in their seat, they just aren’t going to learn.
Most importantly, the relationship between health care and the people who are not receiving it.
Wake County: # Estimate of Uninsured Adolescents 0 - 18
They have to see the disparity for what it is. A system that creates unequal opportunity for access to health care. They have to understand the barriers that prevent people from accessing the basic levels of care that they need and deserve.
This is how we begin to start moving social norms, shifting communal perceptions to be more inclusive of the underserved and underrepresented.
And they have to enjoy what they do…