Navigating Healthcare: Post-Appointment Strategies to Access Care

October 28, 2021

Title Page Header with YCO Logo

Background  Challenges  Strategies  Considerations  Our Voices

Pre-Appointment  During Appointment  Post-Appointment 

This resource explores ways to access care and support after our appointments. 

The information in this resource comes from the lived experiences, wisdom, and care of youth in our communities. You or other folks you know might have different ways to get the healthcare that works for your needs! This information comes from community knowledge and does not provide medical or legal advice.


Exploring Activities

  • What we want out of self-care and how self-care works is different for everyone! If we are having a hard time finding ways that work for us, we can consider some of these activities.
    • Interactive self-care guide
    • Well-being checklist
    • Journaling about our experiences
    • Making art (e.g. poetry, visual art, zines)
    • Doing something that is physically engaging if we have been mentally processing a lot
    • Finding distracting activities
    • Spending time with people who are affirming, see us, and respect us
    • Learning about self-compassion
    • Talking to others with shared experiences


  • If we are experiencing challenges with healthcare practitioners, we can often find ourselves internalizing judgments or questioning ourselves. The activities above may help us understand these experiences and cope. We may also want to critically explore and understand the dynamics with our healthcare providers. Here’s what one person shared about this:
    • “Knowing that at the heart of it, the things that they say are not necessarily reflective of me, my character, my morals. I’ve had to learn to expect that kind of thing and mentally prepare to bounce that off of me so I don’t internalize it.”


  • We may find it helpful to reflect and journal about our experiences. If so, here are some prompts we can try out:
    • How did the appointment make me feel?
    • What did I like about the appointment?
    • What did I not like about the appointment?
    • How open is this practitioner to feedback?
    • Is there anything I want to continue or change if I need to go again?

Learning about Others

  • Listening to others’ experiences online (e.g. Instagram, Blogs, YouTube) may be useful for understanding our own experiences

Personal Support

  • Sometimes our thoughts can be overwhelming to process alone. Having someone with us to share our experiences or spend time with can be helpful.
    • We can reach out to folks we trust (e.g. friends, family members, counsellors) or members of the community to talk about our experiences and feelings
    • We can ask them to distract us (e.g. telling us about their day) or to do something with us

Organized Support

  • We may be able to find support groups (e.g. Facebook groups, group counselling) that focus on our experiences (e.g. groups for chronic pain, QTIBIPOC-only spaces). Talking to people with similar experiences can help us feel less alone.
    • For example, here is an online zine focusing on disabled students in academia

Sharing Our Experiences

  • Some of us may want to share advice with others in similar situations as a way of processing our own experiences. We can do this in many different creative ways (e.g. Zines, social media, blogs, writing books).

If we want to learn and create more strategies, there are different ways we can do this!

Trial & Error

  • Often, these strategies are created through experience, in other words, “trial and error” as we navigate systems. It is a process over time to build the skills and confidence we need to self-advocate. We may want to take time to reflect on our needs and see how these can be met. 
    • As one person put it “It’s a combination of feeling tired of oppression and harm while understanding that if I don’t do this, no one else is going to. I had caring people who did advocate for me when I was a youth. It involved getting support from others and starting to believe that I deserved the things that I was advocating for myself.”

Community Dialogue

  • Those of us who are connected to loved ones, organizations, and community (e.g. friends, Elders, YouthCO, in-person and online QTIMBIPOC spaces) may be able to share conversations about our experiences and recommendations. Starting these conversations can be challenging. If we feel unsure about initiating this dialogue, we may find it easier to connect with others who have previously shared their experiences with healthcare (e.g. family, people on online platforms, staff, etc.).
    • We can also consider these prompts to initiate conversations in-person or online:
      • “I was thinking about something that happened with my doctor. Do you have the capacity to talk to me about it?”
      • “You’ve said before that you also have back pain. I’m trying to figure out what might work for me. Are you comfortable sharing what you’ve tried?”
      • “I saw that your bio said you’re open to DMs from genderqueer folks about HRT. Do you mind if I ask a few questions?”
      • “I think I found a really good counsellor. Do you have some time later? I want to share my thoughts and see what you think.”

Peer Modeling & Learning

  • Bringing a support person to our appointments or being a support person for someone else’s appointments can be an opportunity to create peer modeling and learning.

Supporting others can often feel good. It can be an opportunity for us to share information we think might be helpful for others, to share our own experiences, and for individual and community healing. Here are some ways that we may be able to do this:

Creating Platforms, Resources, & Dialogue

  • Starting conversations with others about healthcare challenges and strategies
  • Posting online (e.g. social media, forums, groups) about our experiences with practitioners and services
  • Creating resources, art, and surveys

Contributing to Existing Community Efforts

  • Joining organizations or community groups that are working toward accessible and affirming services
  • Interested in sharing your strategy on this document? Contact us at [email protected]!