Planet Youth is an international evidence-informed primary prevention model, developed by the Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis (ICSRA) at Reykjavik University. It was initially developed in order to reduce substance use rates amongst young people.
The model uses a whole population approach and offers the opportunity to improve health and life outcomes for young people in many areas. It works by directly targeting the risk and protective factors that determine their substance use behaviours and enhancing the social environment they are growing up in. By reducing the known risk factors and strengthening the known protective factors the problems associated with adolescent substance use and related negative behaviours can be reduced or stopped before they arise.
Importantly Planet Youth is a process-structure to collaboration where researchers, policy makers and administrative leaders, and practitioners join forces and use efficient data diagnosis to set local goals and pick strategies that may work well in their environment. This is important, as the linked interventions will vary from area to area. That is the value of the area based data collection and diagnosis.
We are leading out on an initial 5 year Planet Youth Plan. We will begin with a survey for post junior cert students in schools in North County Dublin in 2021. This is a health and wellbeing survey that looks at risk and protective factors for drug & alcohol use and a range of other key health and wellbeing areas for young people. Instead of assuming that we know what it is like to grow up in our area we are asking young people to tell us! We will use this data to develop a Planet Youth plan which will involve many partners all working together to improve the lives of young people in our communities.”