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Health, well-being, and welfare services are unevenly distributed in the Nordic regions and municipalities, particularly in rural and sparsely populated areas. Some of the key future challenges include ensuring that improvements in health and well-being are evenly distributed in the population; that the growing mental health crisis among young people is addressed; and that rural youth do not lag behind their urban counterparts in terms of access to essential services. Recreational activities are also highly important for young people’s well-being. In order to combat loneliness and improve mental health, it is vital to ensure that rural youth have access to, e.g., swimming pools, sports arenas, and youth clubs. 
We recommend: 
  • Ensuring access to sports facilities and recreational arenas, so that young people can meet peers with similar interests. This is important for nurturing a sense of community. 
  • Ensuring fast and reliable internet access for all communities in rural and sparsely populated areas. 
  • Promoting the ready availability of digital healthcare tools to facilitate wider access to mental healthcare in rural areas, as a complement to physical services. 
  • Offering good-quality, evidence-based education in sexual and reproductive health and rights for young people in rural areas. This could include independent facilitators or educators visiting smaller communities to ensure more open dialogue and knowledge-sharing.
  • Including rural LGBTQA+ youth on the agenda by openly addressing issues connected to their well-being.