“Don’t be scared to talk to us & just give us the truth.”
In early 2016, WISH asked Worcester youth during face-to-face group conversations what they needed from adults to help them stay healthy and have healthy relationships. Sixty-one youth of multiple races and ethnicities between the ages of 13-23, from Worcester middle schools, high schools and community-based organizations participated. Half were middle school students. The others included an all-male group, a group of young mothers and a group trained as peer leaders.
What do you need more of, to have good relationships and stay healthy?
For adults to talk about relationships, sexual health, sex – and be clear and straightforward when giving information–don’t play games
Support and advice from both male and female adults
Real sex education classes, including current information and speaking about consequences
Open, honest, ongoing dialogues in safe places
Information about what a healthy relationship ‘looks like’ and about consent
Information about birth control, access to condoms, emergency contraception, STI testing
Where do you get info about healthy relationships and sexuality?
Parents (#1 response)
Others (not in order): siblings, other family members, older students, TV, internet, teachers, Google, porn, WebMD
How could Worcester, as a community, support the sexual health needs of young people?
More programing with a focus on youth
Places where youth go already should provide services–like school
Get more adults who are able to talk about sexual health
Nonjudgmental spaces and services
Offer sensitivity training for adults/caregivers – more adults who are able to talk about sexual health
Less stigma about accessing health services and resources
Access to free condoms and more stores that provide what we need (for protection)
What can adults do?
Don’t be scared to talk to us
Give us the truth – we need more truthful and accurate information
Support us, give us advice
Know that telling us to ‘just say no’ doesn’t work
Talk about it with us without judgment
Keep confidentiality – don’t gossip afterwards about us
Build trusting relationships
Don’t make things awkward.
Just support us emotionally and share your experience with us