Convegno consultori novembre 2023

Offering young people a welcoming place where they can “ask for help” and feel welcomed and never judged. Offering opportunities for today's and tomorrow's families to meet. Offering many projects, both national and international, that focus on boys and girls, their fears and needs, by listening carefully to their own voices. This was the focus of the conference Riparliamo di consultori giovani: cosa è cambiato? Cosa dobbiamo cambiare? (Let's talk again about consultori for young people. What has changed? What do we need to change?) which took place today at the Istituto degli Innocenti in Florence. An initiative promoted by the Institute and the Central Tuscany Local Health Authority to take stock of the work of the consultori for young people and the opportunities for fruitful cooperation between the two institutions, starting with the inauguration of the new consultorio last March.

March saw the return of the consultorio at the Innocenti

After ten years, the Istituto degli Innocenti has welcomed back the consultorio of the Central Tuscany Local Health Authority: in 2013, in fact, the consultorio that the Institute had housed since the end of the 1970s was closed down. The new consultorio is designed as a place to promote the well-being and health of women, couples, families and young people. It is a safe haven where one can find not only health services in the narrow sense, but also counselling, listening and support for specific health pathways. Pregnant women can take part in classes aimed at supporting childbirth in a spacious and welcoming space. On the parenting support front, there is an increasing collaboration between the Local Health Authority and the initiatives already implemented by the Istituto degli Innocenti, such as the Crescere Insieme (Growing Together) project, the free educational service for children and families, promoted by the Region of Tuscany and the Institute as part of the activities of the Regional Documentation Centre for Childhood and Adolescence and part of the overall offer of the 0-6 Innocenti Centre for Childhood. Istituto degli Innocenti and the Local Health Authority are currently working to further strengthen the synergy and opportunities for collaboration on these and other issues related to health and support of mothers and families.

Listening and participation, an essential pairing

In particular, the consultorio is meant for young people in that it plays a fundamental role in terms of listening to them and active participation, offering a safe and welcoming environment in which they can express doubts, fears and questions related to their health and well-being. In an era when communication is often influenced by social media and digital interactions, the need to be listened to empathically, without judgement, has become increasingly relevant. Professionals in consultori for young people are trained to understand the unique challenges young people face and to provide active and respectful listening. This creates a space where young people feel free to share their experiences, thus contributing to greater mutual awareness and understanding. Consultori for the young are also places that promote active participation of young people in their own health management. Participation involves not only receiving information but also empowering young people in making informed decisions. More knowledge on issues such as sexuality, mental health, interpersonal relationships can provide them with tools to take care of themselves. However, it also encourages them to become ambassadors of information within their communities.

The active and participatory role played by children is central in the work of the Istituto degli Innocenti, which cultivates it with increasing vigour through numerous projects. Underlying this is the belief that stakeholders’ direct involvement is crucial to achieve tangible results in promoting their well-being. Emblematic in this sense are the numerous national and international projects carried out by the Istituto degli Innocenti which, in recent years, has literally listened to boys and girls in order to become an increasingly valuable spokesperson for their requests. From school to family, from moments of play and serenity to the most problematic situations, every sphere - institutional and non-institutional - can be the right one to involve young people and listen carefully to their voices. With all its listening and direct involvement projects, therefore, the Istituto degli Innocenti has already put itself fully in line with what is called for in the UN Committee's latest recommendations to Italy, in which the need to institutionalise the participation of young people in decision-making processes on issues that concern them is reiterated.

Among the various contexts, the health and social-health contexts are certainly the most delicate. For this reason, the consultorio for young people appears to be a privileged and fundamental service for listening, observing, taking charge and developing concrete actions to prevent, contain and deal with situations of existential distress experienced by children and young people.

Last update: 01/24/2024 - 13:16