The best way for young people to learn is often from other young people. When cohealth decided to create resources for young people with asthma living in Melbourne’s west, who better to create these resources than young people with a lived experience of asthma themselves?
Part of a wider Department of Health-funded project to improve the asthma self-management strategies of young people in the west, this storytelling project involved the production of asthma video resources, made for young people by young people.
“Young people from the west took part in two storytelling workshops,” says Sunny Nguyen, cohealth Project Development Officer. “They learned about fact-checking and health promotion and different aspects of video production. Then across four weeks, they made their videos with a media company.”
The aim, says Sunny, is to share the asthma management videos on social media in places so that other young people living in the west will see them. By giving young people and their families asthma management information and support directly, they are empowered to feel ownership over their own health outcomes.
Young people were recruited for the project through youth services at Brimbank City Council, Maribyrnong City Council and Hobsons Bay City Council. cohealth delivered the workshops alongside mentors and guides from CHASE, a student health education and community engagement charity. Across two Saturdays, young people learnt about different aspects of video production, health promotion strategies and how to talk about asthma. An asthma educator from cohealth’s Community Asthma Program was also at the workshops to answer any questions young people had, which helped them plan what to put in their videos.
“The group was really excited and did some great work throughout the day, even recording some ideas on their phones,” says Neisha Salvatore, ICAM Project Officer, after the first workshop. “The young people were really engaged and got involved in all the activities, sharing their thoughts and ideas for videos. There was a great energy at both workshops.”
After the two workshops, young people directly worked with media company Khorus, taking ownership for their videos. They decided what their videos were going to look like and the best way to communicate with their peers.
This is what community health is all about – being guided by the lived experience of our community members.
“Finding out what community members have to say and what they want is the most important thing,” says Sunny. “And then that shapes the services we offer and what we do, not the other way around.”
Through the videos, cohealth is encouraging young people to talk about asthma with their friends and communities, sharing their experiences and strategies.
“We are hoping these videos will destigmatise asthma and help people feel more comfortable talking about it,” says Neisha. “We want to empower young people to be asthma champions.”
Across the next few weeks, cohealth will be sharing these videos with young people on our social media channels. Young people who participated in this project were compensated with an honorarium,