The Shea Heights Community Alliance: Memorial University's President's Award for Public Engagement Partnerships
A Community Alliance was formed in 2012 with a goal to promote youth wellness in an intra-urban community of St. John’s, NL. The Alliance is an equal partnership between healthcare professionals, the Shea Heights community centre board, and St. John Bosco school administration. Great effort has been put forth to develop strong relationships and promote active citizenship in the community. The Alliance’s mission is to promote mental health and wellness (MH&W), with a special focus on the community’s youth. This is achieved using a multifaceted approach, consisting of:
Exploratory Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) has been employed, including (in increasing degrees of engagement) audits of health centre medical records, discussions with well-known community leaders, youth surveys on MH&W issues, and focus groups and in-depth interviews with youth, adult community members, and community professionals.
The Alliance has engaged the community by hosting themed “wellness information” nights and by actively participating in significant community events (folk festival, holiday parades, Winterfest, Remembrance Day ceremony, cancer fundraising walk).
A customized Action Plan to support youth MH&W was conceived and developed through a community-led consultation and design process, and consists of three shared priorities:
1. Improve access/willingness to access MH&W support.
2. Keep youth happy and healthy.
3. Support the community in building on its resources for the wellbeing of all.
The following video showcases the work of the Alliance and their community partnership. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aeX68CFeUFM