Reasons for non-attendance in youth mental health clinics: Insights from mobile messaging communications

Jeremiah Ayalde, Wei Soong, Shane Thomas, Polly McCann, Jennifer Griffiths, Craig Nicholls, Samir Heble, Milan Dragovic, Flavie Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Non-attendance at appointments in youth mental health services is a common problem which contributes to reduced service effectiveness and unmet needs. Reasons cited by young people for non-attendance are poorly understood. Information derived from short-message-service (SMS) conversations about appointments between patients and clinicians can uncover new insights about the circumstances leading to ‘did not attend’ events. Methods: Text messages between young people and clinicians were examined in a retrospective audit of medical records in two youth mental health services in Perth, Australia. Frequently non-attending young people aged 16–24 (n = 40) engaged in 302 SMS message chains about appointments. Mixed methods included quantitative data and qualitative thematic analysis of textual data. Results: Medical reasons (32/190, 16.8%) and forgetfulness (20/190, 10.5%) were the most frequent reasons for non-attendance. Major issues included non-avoidable events while others were potentially preventable and could be addressed by the service. Conclusions: The analysis of mobile communications in clinical practice can be used for service evaluation and to reveal barriers that impede attendance to ongoing care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)877-883
Number of pages7
Journal Early Intervention in Psychiatry
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

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