What are young Indians saying about mental health? A content analysis of blogs on the It’s Ok To Talk website

Gonsalves, Pattie Pramila, Hodgson, Eleanor Sara, Michelson, Daniel, Pal, Sweta, Naslund, John, Sharma, Rhea and Patel, Vikram (2019) What are young Indians saying about mental health? A content analysis of blogs on the It’s Ok To Talk website. BMJ Open, 9 (6). e028244 1-8. ISSN 2044-6055

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Objectives: This study used thematic content analysis to examine submissions to a youth mental health website, www.itsoktotalk.in, in India.

Setting: We considered submissions made to the It’s OK to Talk web platform during the first year of its operation (April 2017 - March 2018), focusing specifically on website users based in India.

Participants: We analysed 37 submissions by 33 authors aged 19-31 years (mean age 22 years) from 7 Indian cities (New Delhi, Lucknow, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad and Haryana). Eligible submissions were English-language first-person accounts of self-identified mental health problems, submitted in any media format for online publication by authors aged 18 years or older and who were based in India. Eight study participants were additionally involved in a focus group that contributed to the coding process and preparation of the final manuscript.

Results: Four themes were identified:1) Living through difficulties; 2) Mental health in context; 3) Managing one's mental health; and 4) Breaking stigma and sharing hope. Overall, the participants expressed significant feelings of distress and hopelessness as a result of their mental health problems; many described the context of their difficulties as resulting from personal histories or wider societal factors; a general lack of understanding about mental health; and widespread stigma and other negative attitudes. Most participants expressed a desire to overcome mental health prejudice and discrimination.

Conclusions: Personal narratives offer a window into young people’s self-identified priorities and challenges related to mental health problems and recovery. Such insights can inform anti-stigma initiatives and other public awareness activities around youth mental health.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Young people, mental health, social media, qualitative research
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Sanjeedah Choudhury
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2019 16:12
Last Modified: 24 May 2021 09:59
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/84697

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