On 15 October 2019, the first-ever Caribbean Council on Adolescence and Youth Health was held. It lasted for three days and was filled with individuals of various Caribbean countries and well-known organisations. It was a launch-pad where advocates, health and social workers, policy-makers, academia, clinicians and young people heeded the call for improved health and well-being of adolescents and young people for the future development of the Region.
Over the three days, I attended several sessions from different tracks and thematic focus. The sessions were excellent, the content was relevant and addressed issues affecting adolescents and young people in an honest, transparent and meaningful way. I particularly liked the smaller, more intimate sessions that ran concurrently and I wish that I could have attended them all. I was most interested in the session that dealt with mental health. As I listened to the presentations and experiences, the challenges of being an adolescent in a time where bullying is pervasive, academic competition is fierce, and support systems are lacking, resonated with me. As adolescents, we are indeed living in a time that requires careful navigation to protect our mental health.
All of the sessions were interactive, and I gained a lot of knowledge.
I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to attend such an important event, and I hope that I can participate in many more in the future.
I enjoyed the conference. It was my first, and I am incredibly grateful to the Pan- American Health Organisation (PAHO) for granting me this unique opportunity. I appreciated the idea of creating a conference that focused on adolescent health, and including adolescents in the decision-making when it comes to their health.