Understanding adolescent mental health and well‑being: a qualitative study of school stakeholders’ perspectives to inform intervention development

Ruth D. Neill, Katrina Lloyd, Paul Best, Mark Tully

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Abstract

Early interventions in the school setting have been identifed as a way to help reduce and prevent these issues. However, the input of key school stakeholders is largely neglected within the intervention development process. This study aims to address this defcit by exploring student and teacher perspectives on adolescent mental health and the barriers and facilitators to intervention development. Data were collected through six focus groups with 32 students and seven semi-structured interviews with teachers were conducted in one secondary school in Northern Ireland, alongside observations across the whole school. The data were analysed using thematic analysis. The main themes identifed were Test anxiety as a detrimental factor to adolescent mental health particularly within the school setting. and the use of a multi-component intervention involving communication, education and physical activity could help reduce anxiety and improve well-being. Perceived facilitators for intervention development were co-production, pupil ownership and target age while barriers included the school’s role in mental health prevention, mixed interests of adolescents, and time constraints. Issues such as test anxiety are important factors to consider in designing a school-based intervention. A school-based intervention should be multi-dimensional to allow the programme to be tailored and sustainable for the school setting. Future research with a larger representative sample is required to obtain information on the acceptance of the intervention developed from this research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Number of pages19
JournalSN Social Sciences
Volume2
Issue number161
Early online date13 Aug 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 13 Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • School research
  • intervention development
  • mental health
  • test anxiety

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