APPROACH: Smart Youth is an ambitious social innovation project of engaging a representative sample of youth in a provincial jurisdiction as citizen scientists to address one major public health issue – youth mental health. Smart Youth has been piloted in the high schools of Regina, and the evidence generated from a representative sample of youth in Regina is being used to inform the scale-up of Smart Youth across the province. Smart Youth also engages educators as citizen scientists to understand school policy and program implementation. The ultimate goal of Smart Youth is to develop a longitudinal digital health program that addresses mental health issues among youth in real-time.
CONTEXT: Smart Youth extends Smart Platform to schools across Saskatchewan and Yukon, where we are working closely with school boards and individual schools in engaging youth and educators as citizen scientists.
COHORT: As part of this initiative, we co-create knowledge with schools, where youth and educators serve as key stakeholders. This initiative allows youth and educators to use a free smartphone application in different seasons to engage with researchers from the University of Regina and Saskatchewan.
PROCESS: This initiative additionally recruits youth members (one female/male) and one educator from each school to hold positions on our Citizen Scientist Advisory Council. Our Council members work with top researchers to gain experience performing research with smartphones. Membership provides experience in leadership for our Council members and is a valuable addition to their CVs.