ICanRelate is a social media project by Toronto Public Health’s Sexual Health Promotion Team. It aims to create positive communication and dialogue about intimate relationships in youth ages 15-25.

We are doing this because:

  • Toronto youth identified information on communication and relationships as a need
  • Better relationships lead to better lives
  • Recent research shows that support with youth relationships will reduce violence, harassment, relationship stress and sexually transmitted infections
  • This project compliments our other sexual health initiatives (ie. education in schools, sexual health clinics, distribution of free condoms, and healthy sexuality programming within the community)

ICanRelate stimulates youth dialogue about relationships, highlighting issues such as assertiveness, jealousy, gender expectations, emotions etc. through social media.

  • Recent reports (including the “Falconer Report”, Toronto Teen Survey, and the “Wolfe report”) recommended healthy relationships intervention as protective against dating violence, sexual harassment, and bullyingi
  • 1500 Toronto youth self-reported healthy relationships as primary concern and gap in knowledgeii
  • 2012 TPH literature review, environmental scan, and focus groups with 168 Toronto youth recommended taking an upstream approach to healthy relationships and via social media
  • The promotion of healthy relationships increases self-esteem, optimism, assertiveness, pro-social behaviour, and resilience against emotional challengesiii. Healthy relationships prevent bullying, peer victimization, mental illness such as depression, chronic anger, and anxietyiv.

i 1. School Community Safety Advisory Panel. 2008. The Road to Health: A Final Report on School Safety. Toronto, ON.
2. Flicker S, Flynn S, Larkin J, Travers R, Guta A, Pole J, and Layne C. 2009. Sexpress: The Toronto Teen Survey Report. Planned Parenthood Toronto. Toronto, ON.
3. Wolfe DA, Crooks C, Jaffe P, Chiodo D, Hughes R, Ellis W, Stitt L, and Donner A. 2009. A school-based program to prevent adolescent dating violence: a cluster randomized trial. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2009 Aug;163(8):692-9. doi: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2009.69.

iiFlicker S, Flynn S, Larkin J, Travers R, Guta A, Pole J, and Layne C. 2009. Sexpress: The Toronto Teen Survey Report. Planned Parenthood Toronto. Toronto, ON.

iiiTorbett H, Calderon KS, and Bell P. 2005. KSC/CCAFS Health Education and Wellness Program. Kennedy Space Centre, Florida.

ii1. Foshee VA, Reyes HL, and Ennet ST. 2010. Examination of sex and race differences in longitudinal predictors of the initiation of adolescent dating violence perpetration. J Aggress Maltreat Trauma 2010;19:492–516.
2. Leadbeater B, Banister E, Ellis W, and Yeung R. 2008. Victimization and relational aggression in adolescent romantic relationships: the influence of parental and peer behaviors, and individual adjustment. J Youth Adolesc. 37: 359–72.
3. Melançon C, and Gagné MH. 2011. Father’s and mother’s psychological violence and adolescent behavioral adjustment. J Interpers Violence. 26: 911–1011.