“I personally wouldn’t know where to go”: Adolescents’ perceptions of mental health services

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Goodwin, John
Savage, Eileen
O'Donovan, Aine
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SAGE Publications
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The aim of this study was to explore perceptions of mental health services from the perspectives of adolescents with no prior service experience. Thirty students in the Transition Year (fourth year) of secondary school participated in this study: 22 females and 8 males, aged 15 to 16. There was equal distribution across rural and urban settings. Participants had no prior experience of accessing mental health services. Data were collected in secondary school settings in the Republic of Ireland. An interpretive description approach guided this study. Data were collected through individual interviews. To complement interviews, participants drew images of mental health care environments and mental health staff members; drawings were not subjected to analysis. Data (participant interviews) were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Three themes were identified. Participants suggested that “mental health services” differed from “psychiatric services,” with the latter term perceived more negatively. Uncertainty about how to access these services was voiced. Considering the vulnerability of adolescents to the experience of mental distress, education around mental health services is warranted. It is expected that provision of education in this area would enhance service delivery, improve adolescents’ help-seeking behaviors for mental distress, and reduce stigma.
Adolescents , Help-seeking , Mental health , Mental health services , Psychiatric , Stigma
Goodwin, J., Savage, E. and O'Donovan, A. (2022) “I personally wouldn’t know where to go”: Adolescents’ perceptions of mental health services, Journal of Adolescent Research. doi: 10.1177/07435584221076056
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