Understanding service use decision-making and improving engagement among youth and young adults with mental health disorders

This program of research will seek to understand how youth and young adults (YYA) with mental health (MH) disorders make decisions about seeking MH services at YYA centres such as Foundry BC. Foundry BC provides health and wellness services to YYAs through integrated service care in communities across BC. Nearly 75% of MH disorders develop before the age of 25, yet less than 20 percent of Canadian YYAs receive appropriate treatment. This can cause serious problems such as relapse, rehospitalisation, increased suicide risk, and can interrupt critical identity development. Currently, there is little to no research that understands how Canadian YYAs making decision about accessing and staying engaged MH services.

This program of research will work closely with Foundry BC to:

  1. To develop a theoretical framework of service use decision-making and engagement among Canadian YYAs living with MH disorders using mixed-method approaches; and
  2. Explore barriers that marginalized YYAs with MH disorders face when accessing digital information using mixed method approaches. Ultimately, this research will lead to the development of a YYA MH service use lab in BC that uses mixed-method approaches and an innovative decision-making framework to develop interventions to increase service use among this vulnerable group in BC. This research will work closely with YYAs and parent knowledge users as part of the research team, and mentor highly qualified students to become MH leaders.