Young People’s Coping Strategies When Dealing With Their Own and a Friend’s Symptoms of Poor Mental Health: A Qualitative Study

Sofia M. Pimenta, Simon C. Hunter, Susan Rasmussen, Nicola Cogan, Bethany Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Young people struggle to seek help for their mental health, despite having different resources available. As the coping process is very complex, and elements such as trust and availability of resources have been said to influence it, this study aimed to understand how young people cope with their own or a friend’s symptoms of poor mental health. Eleven young people (13–15 years old) were interviewed. Thematic Analysis of the interviews showed that participants reported different coping strategies for dealing with their own hypothetical symptoms and those of a friend. Participants identified the social impact of experiencing symptoms of poor mental health and choice of resources as the main factors influencing their coping strategies. For their own symptoms, young people expressed concern about being judged and that they would only disclose to someone they trust. Participants would not disclose a friend’s symptoms because they did not want to break their trust. Finally, choice of resources was mainly influenced by the severity of symptoms being experienced, especially when it comes to asking for professional help. This study contributes to a better understanding of the different ways in which young people cope with their own symptoms and symptoms experienced by a friend.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Adolescent Research
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 Dec 2021

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