Young people need and deserve accurate medical information and family planning care.
Every day, our youth are exposed to messages about love, sex and relationships. Healthcare providers are in a unique position to offer accurate, timely information in a confidential setting. In addition, teens value the time you spend with them and the unique counsel you offer.
Being Teen-Friendly: Environment
Take a peek at what a teen-friendly clinic looks like, then consider implementing the following in your own health center:
- Post signs stressing confidentiality.
- Designate certain waiting areas for teens only.
- Display age-appropriate material.
- Provide one-on-one counseling and tailor intake procedures and risk assessments for adolescents. Consistently ask about teens' pregnancy intentions and their current use of contraceptives.
- Make condoms and other contraceptives, especially LARCs, readily available. Assist women who need to switch birth control methods until they find the one best suited to them, which usually changes over time.
Being Teen-Friendly: Staff
Your staff should be trained to work with diverse groups of teens and be comfortable discussing adolescent development, anatomy, and sexuality. Encourage your staff to:
- Respect young people and their decision making, and use inclusive language (like "partner" instead of "boy/girlfriend").
- Discuss abstinence as the best choice but also provide accurate information regarding contraceptives.
- Allow walk-in patients to be seen whenever possible.
- Ensure alone time with a young person even if a parent/guardian is present, and collect health information in a private manner.
Being Teen-Friendly: After the Visit
What happens after a young person visits your clinic is vital. Enable your staff to:
- Contact teens about action plans, counseling, lab results, and scheduling using their preferred method of communication.
- Regularly communicate with all clients, especially those of high risk.
- Refer teens to trusted providers.
- Encourage young people to share what they've learned with their peers and solicit their feedback to make improvements.
Seventeen Days (formerly What Could You Do?)
Designed for a clinic setting, this program uses an interactive DVD to educate young women about contraception and sexually transmitted diseases.The DVD presents different scenarios involving decisions that young women face in relationships,identifies choice points, suggests risk-reduction strategies, and allows viewers to practice what they would do in a similar situation. This is a 45-minute video (users can skip sessions).
Health centers are a valuable community resource. Learn quick tips on how health centers can support young people in getting accurate sexual health information.