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Exploring functional concerns in help-seeking youth: a qualitative study

Authors

  • Alice Cairns,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    2. Rehabilitation Clinical Academic Unit, Metro South Mental Health Service, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    • Corresponding author: Mrs Alice Cairns, Mobile Intensive Rehabilitation Team, 51 Wembley Road, Logan Central, Qld 4114, Australia. Email: alice.hodgson@student.qut.edu.au

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  • Frances Dark,

    1. Rehabilitation Clinical Academic Unit, Metro South Mental Health Service, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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  • David Kavanagh,

    1. School of Psychology and Counselling, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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  • Steven McPhail

    1. School of Public Health and Social Work, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
    2. Centre for Functioning and Health Research, Metro South Health Service District, Queensland Health, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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Abstract

Aim

This study aimed to explore the functional concerns of help-seeking young people 12–25 years of age.

Method

Semistructured interviews with n = 10 young people seeking help from a youth mental health clinic were conducted. Data were transcribed verbatim and analysed using content analysis. Results were verified by member checking.

Results

Participants identified reasons for seeking help, with the main themes being relationships, emotional management, risk-taking behaviour and difficulties with employment. There appeared to be a difference between the concerns of the older, post-school-age group and the younger participants.

Conclusion

Young people are able to identify their functional concerns and reasons for seeking help from mental health services. Understanding the concerns of these young people provides weight to the model of youth-specific mental health services. Future work examining concerns of 12–25 year olds should ensure adequate representation of the older group as their needs and concerns seem to differ from those of younger participants in this study. Post-school-age youth seem to be under-represented in existing literature in this field. However, a limitation with this study is the small sample sizes once the cohort is divided by age. Future studies with a larger, more detailed examination of the needs and concerns of this population are warranted to inform service delivery advancements and clarify the difference in needs between the post-school and current school attendee groups.

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