The First Nations Health Authority is launching a youth campaign today that is inspired by and co-created with Indigenous youth. This strengths-based campaign features Indigenous youth reaching out to their peers with messages, advice, personal videos, and youth resources. The campaign aims to inspire and support young people to stay mentally and emotionally well during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 12-week campaign features digital ads and videos on Instagram, Tiktok, and Snapchat, as well as a Snapchat filter that youth can use and share with their friends. #FNHAWellnessWithin is the campaign hashtag.
A new youth web section is part of the youth campaign. The web section hosts videos produced by Indigenous youth, as well as many other resources. It is a one-stop shop where young people can watch short videos to find out what other Indigenous youth in BC are doing to feel connected and keep well during COVID-19.
The campaign highlights several themes for keeping well. For example, Qwuyumaat Hannah (Eyvette Elliott) of Cowichan Tribes talks about feeling centred.
“During the pandemic, I'm finding comfort in creating solid routines. I'm doing things that bring me joy like beading and getting outdoors. I'm doing small things that make me happy," explains Qwuyumaat.
Other themes for keeping well are having perspective, learning new skills and getting rooted in culture.
“For me, staying well during COVID comes with connecting to my spirituality and healing my spirit," says Megan Metz of Haisla First Nation. “It comes with harvesting our traditional foods and medicines. It comes with speaking x̄a'islak̓ala, my native tongue [and] learning my family history and the history of my Nation. It comes with singing, drumming, and dancing to our songs."
Some youth are staying mentally well by getting physically fit. “I'm keeping well by exercising every day – whether it's a walk in the park or going to the gym," says Brandon Gosnell of Haida and Nisga'a First Nations. “Physical activity keeps me happy while staying safe in isolation."
The FNHA developed the youth campaign to address the special challenges that physical distancing and other pandemic protocols present to youth. Under normal circumstances, youth would spend much of their time socializing and connecting with their peers as part of their natural, healthy development.
Visit www.fnha.ca/youth for more information about the youth campaign and to watch the youth videos.