Youth Civic Engagement and Its Impacts on Social Connectedness and Wellness
This project explores the impacts and implications of youth civic engagement and leadership development and its potential to foster social cohesion, improve mental health and decrease loneliness. During the COVID-19 pandemic, youth mental health challenges reached an all-time high and the negative impacts were felt even more strongly among low-income, marginalized and racialized youth. At the same time, youth reported lower levels of political and community involvement.
These developments highlight the urgent need to better civically engage young people as the shapers of Canada’s economic and political future. At a critical point in their personal development, youth’s ability to grow and lead in strong and resilient communities has long-lasting effects into adulthood.
Through a scoping review of academic and gray literature that identified 221 relevant sources, the project aims to:
- Provide an overview of the current state of knowledge on youth civic engagement and its impacts on social cohesion, community building, loneliness and mental health, including identifying the strengths and gaps in the literature;
- Better understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth mental health and explore how civic engagement evolved digitally during the pandemic; and
- Identify implications for policies and mobilize best practices to support community and educational civic engagement initiatives in addressing the needs of youth to effectively expand civic and leadership development.