Experiences of young people and their carers with a rural mobile mental health support service: A qualitative study

Julaine Allan, Anna Thompson

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Mental health difficulties during teenage years are common. They are also a risk factor for later mental and physical health problems. Rural young people are at a greater risk for mental health difficulties and have less access to services than their urban counterparts. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of young people and their carers with mental health support provided by a rural mobile service, and to identify access enablers from the perspective of the service users. A qualitative descriptive approach was used to analyse twelve interviews with current service users and eight interviews with family members of young people who had accessed the service. Three main themes were identified: (a) access and flexibility, (b) the qualities and strategies of the clinicians, and (c) experiences of change. The mobile service was perceived to be effective in producing a positive change in mental health, relationships, and the attainment of life goals. Key enablers to access included the flexibility of the mobile service, the variety of service delivery modes and therapeutic methods offered, the ease of access facilitated by the location in schools, and the autonomy of young people in how they chose to utilise the service. This study provides information about what is important to rural young people and their families in the provision of mental health services. The findings have implications for changing the way services are organized and operated. Healthcare policies and services could support a user-led model design that incorporates access and use-enablers and removes barriers to rural mental health support.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1774
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number3
Early online date18 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


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