Movement and young minds: Co-designing and integrating physical activity programming into health services for young people experiencing mental health and substance use challenges

In Canada, mental health and substance use (MHSU) disorders affect 25 percent of young people aged 12 to 24 years. Foundry is an organization in British Columbia (BC) made up of a number of centres across the province that offer a variety of services to young people with MHSU disorders. A service not yet offered is physical activity, which can be used to manage mental and physical health. An ideal time to help people develop healthy habits, including being physically active, is while they are still teenagers or young adults.

This study will explore how physical activity programming can be included as a service offered through Foundry centres. This will be done by using photographs to understand youth needs; development of a working group to consider how to add a service; and, co-creation of a physical activity program. This work will be done collaboratively with diverse youth, service providers, and researchers. The long-term goal is to improve the quality of care, and the health of young people with MHSU disorders living in BC, Canada and across the world.