Putting Technology Into Youth Mental Health Practice: Young People’s Perspectives

Alice E. Montague, Kandice Varcin, Magenta B. Simmons, Alexandra G. Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Although young people aged 16 to 25 are particularly susceptible to mental ill-health, they are difficult to engage in ongoing treatment. Meanwhile, young people are more engaged with digital technologies than ever before, with the Internet and mobile technologies reaching ubiquity in young lives. Despite this, it is unclear from the literature how young people’s high technology use may be harnessed for the better management of youth mental health problems in face-to-face treatment. To explore young people’s opinions on how technology can be used for treatment engagement and as a complement to mental health treatment, a total of 21 participants aged 16 to 25 years were consulted in two focus groups. Transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis, with consensus coding by two independent raters. Participants were positive about the integration of technology into youth mental health practice, but indicated that identifying the client’s preferred technology was the most reliable means of engagement. They reported already using technology as an informal complement to treatment, and asserted that formal technology integration must have a clear benefit to treatment while not replacing face-to-face time. Technology use to provide support beyond discharge and between sessions was suggested as a useful means for continuity of care and to prevent relapse. While various technologies were described as engaging, easy-to-access, informative, and empowering, their benefits are not yet being harnessed in youth health services to their full potential. More research is required to better understand how to best put technology into youth mental health practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalSage Open
Issue number2
Early online date15 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


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