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An Exploration of Young People’s Views and Understanding of Mental Health Difficulties

Heffernan, Elsa (2018) An Exploration of Young People’s Views and Understanding of Mental Health Difficulties. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University.

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Abstract or description

How young people perceive and respond to mental health difficulties will have implications for the health, wellbeing, shape of services and quality of life for their own and future generations. Understanding young people’s views will be important in guiding the development of resources that support them in learning about and protecting their mental health.
The following pages present three papers which seek to facilitate a clearer understanding of what young people think and know about mental health difficulties. A review of the literature is presented in Paper 1 and indicates that this has been an under-researched area for many years. The existing literature presents an incomplete and varied account of the nature of young peoples’ understanding of mental health difficulties. It indicates a need for further, high-quality research in this area to address these inconsistencies and consider the sources that might influence young people’s perceptions.
Paper 2 details the empirical research that was undertaken in response to these gaps in the literature. Sixteen young people took part in a vignette-based qualitative study. Interview transcripts were analysed using Thematic Analysis. Three themes were identified: ‘the experience of being unwell’, ‘empathy and stigma’, and ‘in search of truth’, and two subthemes, ‘cause and context’ and ‘helping and helplessness’. These themes are discussed in detail, and the clear strengths and gaps in young people’s understanding are discussed. Implications for the development and delivery of mental health education initiatives are considered.
An executive summary of this research is presented in Paper 3. It includes recommendations to support schools and education providers in responding to recent developments in the UK which will ensure that every child is taught about mental health and wellbeing in school.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty: School of Life Sciences and Education > Psychology
Depositing User: Library STORE team
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2018 13:44
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 13:44

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