"Getting better at getting better": How Sharing Mental Health Stories Can Shape Young People's Wellbeing

Community Ment Health J. 2021 Nov;57(8):1604-1613. doi: 10.1007/s10597-021-00786-w. Epub 2021 Feb 12.


Sharing lived-experience of mental ill-health is increasingly recognised as a promising youth mental health intervention. batyr is a preventative mental health organization that trains young people to share their story of mental ill-health safely through a speaker development program. This qualitative study aimed to understand how the role of batyr speakers shapes individual wellbeing, help-seeking behaviour, and stigma as well as how young people talk about mental health within their social circles. Data was collected using in-depth semi-structured interviews with 18 batyr speakers (age 18-35 years). Thematic analysis revealed five themes: Getting better at getting better, Growing towards self-acceptance, Breaking the wall by talking about mental health, Increasing connectedness and Reaching out for support. The participants reported overall improved wellbeing, as a result of increased confidence, greater self-awareness, and an increased ability to talk safely about their mental illness. Findings suggested that the program led to a reduction of self-stigma and stigma.

Keywords: Disclosure; Help-seeking; Mental health; Stigma; Storytelling; Young people.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Mental Health
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Stigma
  • Young Adult