Young people experience one of the highest rates of mental health problems of any group, but make the least use of the support available to them. To reach young people in distress, we need to understand what this digital generation want from mental health professionals and services.
Based on interviews with nearly 400 young people, this book offers a vision of youth mental health issues and services through the eyes of young people themselves. It offers professionals important insights into the meaning of identity and agency for this generation and explores how these issues play out in young people’s expectations of mental health support. It shows how, despite young people’s immersion in digital technology, genuine and trusting relationships remain a key ingredient in their priorities for support. It considers what access to mental health support means for a generation who have grown up with the immediacy enabled by digital technology. Young people’s accounts also provide crucial insights into how they are using digital resources to manage their own mental health – in ways often not appreciated by professionals who design internet interventions.
What Young People Want From Mental Health Services offers clear guidance to counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, youth workers, social workers, service providers and policymakers about how to work with youth and design their services so they are a better match for young people today. It contributes to a growing movement calling for a ‘Youth Informed Approach’ to mental health to address the needs of young people.
Table of Contents
1.Introduction 2. Youth mental health in context 3. Communicating about mental health 4. Identity and mental health 5. Agency and mental health 6. Relationships and mental health 7. Access and mental health 8. Digital technology and mental health 9. A Youth Informed Approach to mental health. Data Sources. References
Kerry Gibson is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Auckland. She is a clinical psychologist with extensive experience working with young people. Her research, conducted through The Mirror Project, seeks to ensure young people’s views are represented in the design of mental health services.
"Kerry Gibson has been a pioneer in putting the voices and experience of young people at the heart of mental health research. In this timely book, she goes further, by inviting us to re-imagine youth mental health - and how we can support young people - for the digital age. She does so brilliantly, with far-reaching implications for both research and practice."
Nick Midgely, Professor of Psychological Therapies for Children and Young People in the Research Department of Clinical, Educational, and Health Psychology at University College London, UK.
"The voices of young people are the essence of this timely book on young people’s views on mental health support. Through analysis of rich qualitative data embedded within critical analysis of their current context, Kerry Gibson reveals the unique mental health needs and priorities of today’s digital generation. This is an essential read for practitioners and scholars in the youth mental health field to be responsive to young people’s own narratives."
Debra Rickwood, Professor of Psychology at the University of Canberra, and Chief Scientific Advisor to headspace: National Youth Mental Health Foundation, Australia.
"This book provides a timely and refreshing reminder of the importance of the voice of young people in determining the best way to help them. Young people’s opinions are given the limelight, with some important insights – perhaps the internet is not such a dangerous space – perhaps cyberbullying is not ubiquitous! As is usually the case, the young people’s ideas are sensible, thoughtful, and somewhat different from those in older generations. In this thoroughly engaging and readable book, Dr Gibson gives voice to young people, with a detailed account of their views and with helpful advice on how we might better address the challenges they face in the future. This is a book with wide appeal, for parents, health professionals and young people themselves."
Sally Merry, Cure Kids Chair of Child and Adolescent Mental Health at the University of Auckland
"Young people around the world are facing unique challenges which are not only undermining their mental health and resulting in a rising tide of mental ill-health. Kerry Gibson communicates her own deep wisdom and empathy on this crucial subject and combines this with the fruits of her inspiring "Mirror Project" which assembled the perspectives and wisdom of around 400 young people. It is not just a mirror but a window into the present day experiences of young people. There is tremendous diversity side by side with the universal threats and gifts that young people must embrace across the globe and in all cultures. This is a book that opened my eyes and my heart wider and distils so much of what I have seen and continue to absorb."
Patrick McGorry, Professor of Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne and Executive Director of Orygen, The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health.