Our youth guest blogger for today is Jaymee! We asked Jaymee what she would like you to know about her and this is what she said: “Here is a little bit of myself: I like writing and spending time with friends. I’m a social butterfly and I enjoy new adventures/exploring new things. I cannot live a day without music and the biggest reward, in my opinion, is when you help people and they have a smile on their face.” We asked how she sees the whole process of being informed, deciding, and giving consent for her own health and this is what she said!
I believe that young people in care are not aware of their rights, or they are being treated unfairly (such as being locked in). Since being a part of the I Do Care interactive groups, I’ve learned that only two places can lock you up such as Children’s Residences (only three in Ontario: Youthdale, Syl Apps, and Roberts Smart) and Hospitals. I’ve learned that you should know the reason why you are being locked-in and if you don’t agree with the reason for why you are being locked in, you can have an outside organisation take a look at why you are being locked in. Outside of these two places, there should be no locking, barricading, or blocking. Just because you are locked in does not mean you receive treatment. You or your Substitute Decision Maker still gets to decide about your treatment.
Young people believe that the age of consent is 12 or 16; however, there is no age of consent as long as you are deemed ‘capable’ of making your own health decisions and can understand what you are being treated for. Another issue faced by our youth is that some of them do not feel like they can get the treatment they want. I believe, in many cases, teens have a difficult time expressing their thoughts and/or feelings. Teens often say what they think the doctors want to hear but, in reality, they are not being true to themselves, therefore, they are not getting the treatment they want. I strongly believe young people in care are also being forced into treatment; in some cases they are getting blackmailed by someone into treatment even if they don’t want to. Young people also say they have had their personal information disclosed and although I agree, I also believe confidentiality and privacy are important but should not override the safety of children or young people. Sharing information between Care and Protection Services and other agencies is essential in order to protect children and young people from experiencing abuse or neglect.
Medication is another issue; doctors believe that putting children or a young person on medication, in order to control young people, is the best thing to do; what I mean, for example, is when doctors diagnose children with ADHD and put them on Ritalin. Sometimes the young person doesn’t even need that medication. I believe young people are not being heard because some people will not take them seriously and, often times, doctors or professionals will listen to other adults and ignore the young person’s wishes. Professionals make the call but it might not be the best choice or option for the young person. I believe this is happening because people think that young people are not able to make decisions, when in reality they can.