A focus group investigation into young children's understanding of mental health and their views on appropriate services for their age group


Gillian Roose, Barnfield House, 9 College Lane Chichester, West Sussex PO19 4FX UK
E-mail: gillian.roose@virgin.net


Background  Children's views about mental health and concurrent service provision are under researched areas. Yet there is concern regarding appropriate service development to meet the increasing mental health needs of children and young people. Recent government policy underlines the need for collaborative work with consumers in service development.

Method  This was a qualitative study designed to explore 10- and 11-year-old children's understanding of the concept of mental health and their opinions regarding an appropriate service for their age group. Two focus groups were conducted with 10- and 11-year-old children and the data was analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.

Results  The participants showed a sophisticated understanding of mental health. The participants thought that school-based services would not be appropriate for their age group.

Conclusion  The participants demonstrated that their level of understanding and interest qualifies them for a place in discussions about services for their age group. Collaborative work with children and young people in line with government policy in this area is necessary for appropriate service development.