Young voices in mental health care: exploring children’s and adolescents’ service experiences and preferences

Persson, Stefan, Hagquist, Curt and Michelson, Daniel (2017) Young voices in mental health care: exploring children’s and adolescents’ service experiences and preferences. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 22 (1). pp. 140-151. ISSN 1359-1045

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The development of ‘youth-friendly’ services has become a priority across a wide range of health-care contexts. However, relatively few studies have specifically examined users’ experiences of, and preferences for, child and adolescent mental health care. The current study investigated young service users’ views of outpatient and community mental health clinics in Sweden, based on two data sources. First, focus group interviews were conducted with seven children and adolescents (aged 10–18 years) to explore both positive and negative experiences of mental health care. Second, written suggestions about specific service improvements were obtained from 106 children and adolescents. Qualitative content analysis revealed three overarching themes: ‘Accessibility’, ‘Being heard and seen’ and ‘Usefulness of sessions’. Young people’s recommendations for improving practice included more convenient appointment times, offered in welcoming settings; opportunities to communicate more openly with clinical staff, enabling sensitive discussion of mental health and wider personal issues; and more structured treatments that offer greater credibility and relevance to young people’s mental health and developmental needs. Young people also discussed being compelled by parents and school professionals to engage in treatment. Attending to young people’s preferences must be a priority in order to overcome ambivalence about session attendance, and enhance treatment participation and outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Research Centres and Groups: Developmental and Clinical Psychology Research Group
Depositing User: Daniel Michelson
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2018 16:28
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2018 16:28
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