Talking About Sexual Health - Resource

Talking About Sexual Health - Opening conversations with young people about sexual health and staying safe.

Opening safe conversation with young people about their sexual health is an important part of a youth worker’s role. To ensure youth workers are supported to have these conversations with confidence and effectiveness Youth Work Ireland have launched a new resource - Talking About Sexual Health - which will guide youth workers in their practice with young people around issues of sexual health.

The need for this resource was evidenced in 2018 as part of Youth Work Ireland’s Positive Sexual Health Campaign, where we produced a consultation activity on sexual health. Youth workers who took part in this consultation fed back to us that an unexpected outcome of the workshops was in the conversations that resulted between them and young people about sexual health. This they say, happened both during the workshop and in the weeks following, where young people went back to them to talk more about sexual health issues they either had concerns about or just wanted more information.

This demonstrated to us that young people want and need more accurate information about sexual health and youth workers are best placed to provide that information and support young people in the decisions they make around their sexual health.

The resource aims to:

  • Identify opportunities to start conversations around sexual health and safety
  • Create positive environments to encourage safe conversations on sexual health
  • Provide handy tips for starting conversations with young people around sexual health
  • Provides a check-list for youth workers to consider before engaging in conversations.
  • Provide information on sexual health, consent, legal issues, sexual health clinic, contraception and STIs
  • List of support services and referral agencies for young people

Talking About Sexual Health was inspired by a publication by NSW Ministry for Health, Australia. We requested and received permission to adapt this to an Irish setting. In late 2018 Youth Work Ireland convened a working group of youth workers to begin adapting the resource to an Irish setting based on their expertise and knowledge. The took has now been developed into an easy to use resource for youth workers to support them in conversations with young people about sexual health.