Professionals' perspectives on involving young people in technology-based mental health work

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Introduction: Involving young people in designing mental health interventions may lead to higher rates of engagement with these interventions and community participation has been shown to improve young people’s mental health. As result there has been increased interest involving young people in designing mental health interventions. Success of these methods may be related to professionals’ level of skill, and willingness to engage young people in the process. However, little is known about the perspectives of professionals on youth engagement. Accordingly, this paper investigates these views among professionals engaged in an Australian multi-institutional cooperative research program (the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre (CRC)). Objective: Investigate professionals’ experiences, attitudes toward and future plans for involving young people in their work. Methods: Eight 30-45 minute phone interviews were conducted with professionals engaged in the work of the Young and Well CRC. A series of questions were asked about their prior experience of involving young people in their work, how young people were involved in the professional’s present work with the CRC, the theoretical model or background they approached their work from and whether they intend to change their methods for future work. A thematic analysis was conducted to examine major themes arising from the interviews. Results: A number of major were identified including included: - The perceived benefits of involving young people in their work; - The perceived challenges arising from involving young people in their work- Methods of involving young people in youth mental health work- The wide range of theoretical (and atheoretical) approaches used by professionals to engage young peopleConclusion: The results suggest that professionals recognise a number of key benefits but also acknowledge specific challenges in involving young people in mental health work. Also apparent was the wide variety of methods used to engage young people and the diversity of theoretical approaches from which this work is conducted. The findings may be useful in informing practice in this area and, in conjunction with feedback from young people, may serve to researchers about potential strategies for engaging young people in intervention and mental health research.

Poster First Author: 
Rebecca Randall
Poster Date: 
October, 2015
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