Summer Luvin' Part 2: What About Health Services?
By Stefanie Winfield, Senior Capacity Building Manager
June 16th, 2016
So your kids are done with school, and are fully embracing summer life - spending time with friends or love interests, staying up a little later and sleeping in a little more. You’ve already addressed sex ed outside of the classroom, and provided your kids with valuable resources for where to go for medically accurate answers to their sensitive questions. They are informed and prepared to make healthy decisions about their bodies.
While education is a big part of sexual health, it is not the whole picture - what about accessing health services?
The world of health care can be intimidating for anyone - regardless of age. And without a clear understanding of where they can go and what they can expect, young people are very unlikely to try to navigate this (often convoluted) system on their own. They may wonder: Do I need insurance? Will I have to pay? How much? How will I get there? Will it be confidential or will my parents find out? Will I be judged by the doctors or nurses? Am I even allowed to go by myself?
It’s absolutely crucial that young people know where they can go for services during the summer when school counselors and nurses aren’t available. And while you as a parent may want them to come to you with any sexual health related question or issue, the reality is that they will not always do so.
So this summer, make sure the young people in your life are informed about local clinics and health centers where they can go for confidential and safe care when the time comes. Here are some great options to recommend, with locations all over the state.
- CDPHE has fantastic resources listed by county. All of the clinics they recommend here accept teens and adults of any race, sexual orientation, income or residency status, and offer low-cost care on a sliding scale. No one will be turned away from these resources because of an inability to pay.
- Planned Parenthood has locations all over the state and a hotline to call for information. They offer a whole range of services, from birth control and Plan B to abortion and STI testing.
- The Colorado Association of School Based Health Centers (CASBHC) has a complete directory of SBHCs in Colorado. Not all of these will be open during the summer, so be sure to check the hours for the locations nearest you.
Remember - sex ed is only one aspect of a young person’s sexual health. When you talk to them about health services as well, you empower them as informed decision-makers in their lives, and set them up for a safe and healthy life.