- Anne Marie Creamer RN PhD
- Jean Hughes RN PhD
- Nicole Snow RN PhD
The time of youth and young adulthood can be particularly daunting for those with mental health problems. In one Atlantic Canadian city a community-based, drop-in, psychosocial mental health centre was designed specifically for youth and young adults aged 16 to 29 years, who self- identified as struggling with mental health problems. The purpose of this study was to explore factors that promoted and discouraged engagement with the centre. Narrative inquiry was used to gather participants’ stories. Ten participants (six males and four females), ages 19 to 29 years, who attended the program (some regularly, some intermittently) were interviewed. Thematic analysis revealed five major categories: (a) Shared Experiences: Shattered and Alone (b) Turning Point: Reasons for Coming; (c) Facilitators of Engagement and Beyond; (d) Challenges to Engagement; and (e) Benefits of Attending: Finding My Way. The common experiences of trauma and its impact were most evident and the need for an approach that helps individuals manage and move beyond the impact of the trauma is essential. Participants noted that critical factors promoting their engagement included having a safe place that facilitated their making connections and building trust to move forward. A multi-disciplinary staff, including peer mentors also played an integral role in promoting participant engagement. This program played a significant role in assisting these individuals to persevere and move forward. This study highlights the need to consider a number of factors that encourage engagement, including integrating a trauma-informed approach when developing community based programs for young adults with mental health problems.
- Gain a deeper awareness and understanding of the factors that promote and discourage engagement in a community-based, drop-in, psychosocial MH program
- Build an understanding of the critical role of collaboration among stakeholders in creating integrated services for youth with mental health problems.
- Build a deeper awareness and understanding regarding the level of trauma experienced by youth with mental health problems in our communities.