One in four young people in British Columbia experience a mental health issue each year. This project will develop methods to engage youth in health services research and system reform by exploring the digital divide. It has been identified that investments in health care technology may have big potential to help young people with mental illness find and receive care they need.
The objective of this project is to understand and dismantle the barriers to accessing digital information, research, and communication technologies for youth with mental illness in BC.
Our project is in progress. When complete, there will be five main outcomes of this study:
Watch a video summarizing this project, featuring project co-leads Skye Barbic and Shelly Ben-David, as well as youth ambassadors Nancy Zhao and Alicia Raimundo.
Forty-five youth have participated in a 1-2 hour virtual open-ended interview conducted by youth research assistants. Our interview protocol was based on a decision-making framework called the Unified Theory of Behavior.
We also asked questions related to how their identity (e.g. gender, race, ability, student status, socio-economic status) influenced their help-seeking, and how their use has changed since the pandemic. Thematic analysis was used to report patterns within the data.
Youth reported their beliefs about:
Prior to the pandemic, youth reported not really accessing digital mental health services, but this greatly increased during the pandemic, and will continue to be used in the future.
Youth reported that identity experiences (e.g. gender, race, access to technology, education) do influence access to digital mental health services.
The findings from this study will help shape the development of tools and strategies, and help inform digital mental health services such as Foundry to increase accessibility for all youth in BC.
We have conducted four deliberative dialogues with four stakeholders (youth, parents, virtual care providers, Foundry directors). Deliberative dialogues are a knowledge mobilization strategy, where you synthesize your data and present to important stakeholders in the field who can help shape the direction of the findings and outputs.
Shelly Ben-David, Co-lead ✉︎
Skye Barbic, Co-lead