Supporting the unique needs of teenagers in the pandemic

1 February 2022

Being a teenager is a strange time. You’ve got the pressures of school, friends and extracurricular activities, combined with the rush of new hormones, bodies that seem to change on an almost daily basis and a growing desire for the independence of impending adulthood. It’s tough even at the best of times, and the last couple of years certainly haven’t been in that category for many of us.  

“Pandemic conditions are at cross currents with normal adolescent development”.
– Dr Lisa Damour PhD 

The impacts of interrupted schooling and reduced socialisation are leading to teenagers experiencing mental health issues at high rates. Many are isolated at home, in an environment where they don’t enjoy as much privacy or self-sufficiency as they might at school. And they must navigate the many ‘joys’ of puberty without as reliable a peer network as they would usually have. 

That’s why it’s so important to support teenagers to seek help for any physical or mental health issues in a way that promotes their independence and autonomy. That could include making their own appointments and communicating directly with health care professionals rather than through their parents or guardians.  

Seeing a medical professional alone is a big step, but one teens will need to master as they head into adulthood so they can independently manage their health and wellbeing. It can help teens develop confidentiality and trust in medical professionals and learn how to communicate about medical issues. 

At YWCA Canberra, we are enabling this independence and growth through our new partnership with Directions Health Services to offer a Teen Clinic at our Mura Lanyon Youth and Community Centre 

Teen Clinic is a free service that provides local teenagers with the opportunity to talk to a nurse in a friendly, confidential and non-judgmental environment. The nurses are there to help advise young people, allowing them to make educated, healthy choices on both medical and non-medical issues, such as: 

  • general health 
  • STI screening 
  • contraception advice 
  • mental health issues 
  • relationship concerns 
  • health education 
  • homelessness 
  • family issues. 

Teenagers can present to Teen Clinic on their own or with someone else of their choice. They do not need any permissions from their family. 

Teen Clinic runs from 2 to 6pm (last arrival at 5.30pm) every Thursday at the Mura Lanyon Youth and Community Centre, 22 Sidney Nolan St, Conder ACT. 

For more information, call 02 6185 2090 or email

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