An exploration of youth and parents' experiences of child mental health service access

Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 2021 Oct;35(5):549-555. doi: 10.1016/j.apnu.2021.06.006. Epub 2021 Jun 21.


Youth experience an increased prevalence of mental health issues, while access to timely and quality services remains problematic. This study examined the experiences of adolescents and their parents surrounding mental health care access. A 4-month focused ethnography was conducted at a mental health clinic for adolescents experiencing difficulties with emotional regulation. Findings revealed major barriers to service access, including a lack of knowledge, information, and guidance, long wait times, and stigma. Facilitators to access included social support, having a contact person, and good rapport with healthcare providers. The study highlights the importance of timely mental health service access for adolescents and provides insights for the improvement of service accessibility.

Keywords: Children & youth; Experience; Mental health; Psychiatry; Service access.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Health Personnel
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Parents
  • Social Stigma