OKN’s Indigenous Reconciliation initiative considers Truth and Reconciliation as two distinct entities, as illustrated above. Learn more about this graphic in our Indigenous Reconciliation Strategy.

Children spend a great deal of their first 8 years learning in schools, thus, how schools connect to their community is important. Progress in this area will show good connections between schools, parents, community resources and the local neighbourhood.
Indicators:

  • Parental involvement in schools
  • Youth as resources
  • Volunteerism
  • Community use of schools
Children thrive in neighbourhoods that are safe and connected. Neighbourhoods that can meet all of our needs are valued.
Indicators:

  • Neighbourhood safety
  • Neighbourhood cohesion
  • Walkability
  • Caring for the community
Safe environments benefit children by providing a sense of personal security that allows them to take maximum advantage of learning, playing and making new friendships.
Indicators:

  • Child care capacity
  • Quality child care
  • Parenting capacity
  • Parental monitoring
  • Quality time at home with family
Safe environments benefit children by providing a sense of personal security that allows them to take maximum advantage of learning, playing and making new friendships.
Indicators:

  • Serious injury
  • At-risk behaviours
  • Safety from harm
All children need positive connections to their parents/caregivers, peers, school and community.
Indicators:

  • Supportive and caring environments
  • Boundaries and expectations
  • Commitment to learning
  • Positive values
  • Social competencies

Learning is one of the cornerstones for success in life and starts at birth. Community progress for this result will show that children are learning both in their preschool and school years.
Indicators:

  • Preschool learning opportunities
  • Student achievement (EQAO)
  • Healthy body weight
  • School engagement

Good health is a prerequisite for positive outcomes for children and youth. Both physical and emotional health are valued in this result. In addition, given the critical brain development that takes place in the first 12 months of life, infant health is closely monitored.
Indicators:

  • At-risk births
  • Healthy eating
  • Healthy body weight
  • Physical activity
  • Mental health

Mental Health Findings

Halton Youth Impact Survey Results

What is the state of youth mental health in Halton and what can be done to improve the mental health of young people?

A bunch of students walk together with colorful backpacks on their back

Findings reflect the responses of 1915 youth in the 13 to 18 age range.

Mental health and wellbeing in Halton: the numbers

Self-rated mental health

Decorative IconSelf-rated mental health provides a measure of youths’ perception of their overall mental health status. It is measured on a five-point scale (excellent, very good, good, fair and poor). A number of surveys in Canada and worldwide use this indicator for monitoring general mental health in the population.
Self-Rated Mental Health graph
Youth identifying as Indigenous and newcomer youth who have lived in Canada for five years or less were more likely to rate their mental health as very good or excellent, compared to their peers (independent of gender or age).

Life satisfaction

Decorative IconLife satisfaction measures an individual’s subjective assessment of their own wellbeing and general happiness. It is measured on a 11-point scale where higher scores reflect higher satisfaction with life in general. Research shows a relationship between life satisfaction and mental health.

On a scale of 0 to 10, a rating of 8 or higher was considered high. In Halton, 32% of youth reported high levels of life satisfaction.

graph showing Life Satisfaction stats

Self-Esteem

Decorative IconSelf-esteem is the percent of youth that have moderate to high self-esteem. The measure is comprised of 6 questions adapted from the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and was used in the previous Halton Youth Survey (2012). The indicator provides a global assessment of self-worth, measuring both positive and negative feelings about the self.
Self-esteem pie chart

High Personal Power

Decorative IconPersonal power is the percent of youth reporting that they feel they have control over “things that happen to me”. It is comprised of three questions and was developed by the OKN research committee, and was used in the previous Halton Youth Survey (2012).
Personal Power graph
Forty-two percent of young people in Halton scored high for Personal Power. Girls and nonbinary youth, youth in the 16-18 age range, and youth who had a diagnosed mood or anxiety disorder were less likely to have high Personal Power compared to their peers.

Newcomer youth who had been living in Canada for five years or less were more likely to have a high Personal Power score, compared to those who were born in Canada. Those that rated their mental health as very good or excellent were also more likely to have high Personal Power.

Diagnosed mental health disorders

Decorative IconDiagnosed mental health disorders is the percent of youth reporting they have been diagnosed for either an anxiety or mood disorder. The indicator provides insight into the prevalence of mental health problems in our sample. The percent may underreport prevalence due to possible barriers to accessing care.
Graphs showing diagnosed mood and anxiety disorders
Among the 18% who reported having a diagnosed mood or anxiety disorder, anxiety disorders were more frequent than mood disorders.

Youth in the 16 to 18 age range (compared to youth in the 13 to 15 age range), girls and nonbinary youth (as compared to boys), and youth who did not rate their mental health as very good or excellent were more likely to report having a diagnosed mood or anxiety disorder. Youth identifying as Indigenous were also more likely to report having a diagnosed mood or anxiety disorder. Immigrant youth were less likely to report a mental health diagnosis, independently of their age, gender, or time living in Canada.

While the survey did not include a full questionnaire on symptoms that could be indicative of a mental health diagnosis, youth did report symptoms they experienced in their daily lives.

Graph showing Recently reported feelings
Girls were almost two times as likely as boys to report at least one symptom. Youth identifying as Indigenous and newcomer youth living in Canada for 5 years or less were less likely to report one of these symptoms.

Independently of their gender and age, youth with a diagnosed mood or anxiety disorder or who did not rate their mental health as very good or excellent were more likely to mention at least one symptom. Excluding youth with a diagnosed mood or anxiety disorder, 20% of the youth with no mental health diagnosis reported experiencing at least one of those symptoms about every day.

Stress

Decorative IconStress is the percent of youth reporting that their days are quite a bit or extremely stressful. It is measured on a five-point scale (extremely, quite a bit, a bit, not very, and not at all stressful). A number of surveys in Canada and worldwide use this indicator for monitoring general levels of stress in the population.
In Canada, in 2020, just over 1 in 10 youth aged 12 to 17 evaluated that their days were quite a bit or extremely stressful . In Halton, a little over 3 in 10 youth reported experiencing this level of stress in their lives.
graph showing stress by group
Youth who had a diagnosed mood or anxiety disorder were more likely to report an elevated level of stress (independent of their gender and age). Youth who had rated their mental health as very good or excellent were less likely to report high levels of stress (independent of their age and gender).

Perception of quality and accessibility of mental health services

Decorative IconPerception of the quality and accessibility of mental health services measures youth perceptions of the overall quality and overall accessibility, regardless of whether they have or have not ever used or tried to use services. The indicator provides insight into whether young people expect to find adequate care if they need it. It is based on a five-point scale (poor or fair, good, very good or excellent).
Graphs showing percieved accessibility of mental health services
Youth’s perception of mental health services varied. Youth diagnosed with a mood or anxiety disorder were more likely to rate quality and accessibility of services as poor or fair (independent of gender or age). Girls, regardless of having a mental health diagnosis, were also more likely to give lower ratings to quality and accessibility of mental health services. Youth identifying as Indigenous, newcomer youth living in Canada for 5 years or less, and youth who rated their mental health as very good or excellent were less likely to give lower ratings to mental health services’ quality and accessibility (independently of having a diagnosed mood or anxiety disorder).
Graphs showing percieved quality of mental health services

Young people living in Halton Hills were less likely to rate the quality or accessibility of services as very good or excellent, compared to the other three municipalities

Note: The ratings on perceived quality and accessibility of mental health services cannot be linked to service use, as this survey did not measure previous use of mental health services or the types of mental health services they may or may not have used. This indicator provides insight into how easy or difficult youth believe it may be to access high-quality mental health care.

Limitations

  • These findings cover only responses of youth in the 13-18 age range
  • Open invitation sampling strategy (non-probabilistic)
    • Sample is not necessarily representative of all children and youth living in Halton.
    • It is not possible to determine a response rate.
    • However, considering the geographic coverage and the size of the final sample, it’s fair to assume that we have a reasonably good cross-section of children and youth living in Halton.
  • A higher degree of diversity within this sample calls for caution when interpreting overall ratios. For more details on the composition of the sample see the sociodemographic table
  • The data are meant to provide a snapshot of youth wellbeing during COVID, and caution should be used when comparing across time.
  • While each indicator is important, using multiple indicators as evidence of strengths and needs provides a more comprehensive representation
  • This is a self-report survey and several types of response bias have been identified related to self-report surveys. Use caution when interpreting the findings
OKN organization graphic