Community Mobilization for Youth Health Promotion: A Lesson Learned from Iran

Article excerpt


Background: More than 36 % of the total population of Iran consists of young people aged 15 to 25 yr. Recent studies show that this age group has the highest rate of serious health problems. Youth participatory studies on youth health priority have shown that mental health is one of the most important priorities in youth health. Aim to assessing the mental health needs of youth we conducted a peer group based multidisciplinary study.

Methods: To conduct a multi disciplinary approach through involving youth for finding their mental health needs and their suggestion for solving them, we designed a qualitative approach based on grounded theory. To data collection, we used a semi-structured guide questionnaire. Sixteen focus group discussions were conducted by trained peers with youth aged 15-25 years.

Result: According to FGDs results, most of youth health needs concern with their interpersonal communications skills particularly with their parents'; they had some problems with their parental expectations meet; life skills; self-expression and problem solving process. They were extremely interested in participatory approach in which they involved in assessment and determination of their health problems also in designing health programs.

Conclusion: Success of program shows empowering the community through capacity building and notice to peer group-based interventions to critical enhancing in various aspects of youth health is the most effective method to needs assessment and community mobilization for better health.

Keywords: Community mobilization, Youth, Health, Iran


More than 36 % of the total population of Iran consists of young people aged 15 to 25 (1). As young people are the future citizens, leaders, parents and workers of each country, have an important role in economic and social well- being of each nation and the world (2).

Available studies have expressed that young people between the age of 15 and 25 have the highest rate of serious problems such as mental problems, risky behaviors, mal nutrition and so on (2).Youth participatory studies on youth health priority have been shown that lifestyles (exercise, nutrition), risky behaviors and different aspect of mental health are the most important priority in youth health (3).

Based on finding of conducted studies, there is a progressive need to increase in youth health providing should be conducted based on their specific needs and preference (4). In order to design an efficient health programs, one of the most essential points is the study and considering target groups views (5).

Recent related researches emphasized that youth tend not to use provided professional mental health services (6). On the other hand, welltrained peers as capable human resource for health promotion through community mobilization were more preferred. Peers have been described as an approach to health promotion in which peers supported themselves to healthy behavior (7).

It is noticeable that peer group based interventions led to critical enhancing in various aspects of youth health, particularly in private and sensitive issues such as mental health. In such cases some special approaches such as youth peer needs assessment, peer based interventional programs, as well as life skills promotion introduced as best practices (8). In addition, it is clarified that peerbased interventions as a cost effective potentially facilitate important changes in health- related behavior (9-14).

In Iran, same as other countries, special attention to the youth health needs is one of the most priority of Health Researches (15). On the other hand, despite of implicit advantages the analysis of interventional studies that were performed in Iran have been shown, that less than 10% of projects, has been designed base on peer education methods(16, 17). Then we should consider carefully peers based closely supervised programs that ensure continuing quality improvement (12). …


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