Exploring the feasibility and acceptability of a school-based self-referral intervention for emotional difficulties in older adolescents: qualitative perspectives from students and school staff

June Shia Lin Brown, Lynn McKeague, Emily Blackshaw, Nicola Morant

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Background: Adolescents with emotional difficulties need accessible, acceptable and evidence-based mental health interventions. Self-referral workshops (DISCOVER workshops) were offered to stressed 16- to 19-year olds in 10 Inner London schools. Method: Semistructured interviews were conducted with three groups of par- ticipants: students who attended a 1-day workshop (n = 15); students who initially showed interest in the DIS- COVER workshop programme, but decided not to take part (n = 9); and school staff who helped organise the programme in their schools (n = 10). Students were purposively sampled to ensure that those from Black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds were represented. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: The accounts generally indicate that the delivery and evaluation of this intervention is perceived as feasible and acceptable. Students, including those from BME backgrounds, described the setting as suitable and reported that the workshop helped them develop new understandings of stress and how to handle it. They expressed a preference for engaging and interactive activities, and valued a personalised approach to work- shop provision. School staff felt that the workshop was in line with school values. They described some logisti- cal barriers to providing the workshops in school settings, and expressed a desire for more information about the workshop in order to provide follow-up support. The main reason students gave for nonparticipation was limited time. Conclusions: Findings are discussed in relation to increasing the feasibility of implementing school-based psychological interventions and the value of providing access to mental health support in schools.
Original languageUndefined
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2017

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