Squashy Couch is an adolescent health and information project geared towards teenagers aged between 14-19 years. The Squashy Couch Adolescent Sexual Health Programme was devised by project staff based on the expressed needs and opinions of young people and professionals which aims to help young people make informed decisions about their sexual health. The evidence-based programme consists of six workshops that look at various elements concerning sexual health. The style of delivery of the workshops is informal and includes games, quizzes and discussions to get the young people involved in the process.

The topics covered in the workshops include:

  1. What is Sex? This introduces young people to the idea of sexual health education and allows them to talk about different kinds of sex. This session incorporates the law around young people and sex including the legal age of consent and sexting.
  2. Talking About Sex and Relationships – looks at healthy and unhealthy reasons for being sexually active. The sessions also helps young people decide if they are ready to be sexually active.
  3. The Body – understanding the names and functions of all the parts of the male and female reproductive systems including the menstrual cycle.
  4. Contraception – identifying the most common forms of contraception and examining how the different contraceptives work.
  5. Using Contraceptives – looking at and overcoming barriers to young people using contraceptives.
  6. Sexually Transmitted Infections – identifying common S.T.Is and ways to prevent and to treat them.

Empower acknowledges the importance of accurate, non-bias sexual health information in a young person’s healthy development. As a result, in 2021 Empower have delivered the Squashy Couch Sexual Health workshops in two secondary schools in the D15 area. In 2022, we hope to facilitate more sexual health workshops in schools throughout Fingal.

Squashy Couch was originally developed as a Youth Café in Waterford as a result of a collaboration between the South Eastern Health Board and the Crisis Pregnancy Agency.