A foundation for online knowledge mobilization in child and youth mental health

In brief

What does the average child or youth in Canada want to know about mental health and how do they search for this information online? EENet has developed a Research Report Round-up of a synthesis report that provides insight from three separate studies funded by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, including a literature review, a qualitative report, and a mixed methods report.

Aimed at educators, health care providers, and decision-makers, the report’s key recommendations include:

  • Create and identify high-quality child & youth-centric mental health knowledge online
  • Develop a common language that will help improve mental health literacy online
  • Create new and exciting opportunities to engage children and youth online 
  • Improve access to mental health information online
  • Inform and build knowledge online in a way that supports the MHCC’s efforts to reduce stigma 

Read this Research Report Round-up below or download the PDF.

Research Report Round-ups are brief summaries of research reports, presented in a user-friendly format.

Title and link to report: A Foundation for Online Knowledge Mobilization in Child and Youth Mental Health
Author: Mental Health Commission of Canada
Date of report: 2014
Location: Calgary, AB

What this report is about

What does the average child or youth in Canada want to know about mental health and how do they search for this information online? This synthesis report provides insight from three separate studies funded by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, including a literature review, a qualitative report, and a mixed methods report.

The report’s findings focus on six main areas:

  • Mental Health Content: It’s important to take a needs-driven approach when providing online info to youth in three primary domains: positive mental health/mental wellness; mental illness (such as myths and symptoms); and help-seeking.
  • Language: Writing for a youth audience should use plain language in a direct, factual manner using messaging that is easy for youth to relate to. Wording should be neutral, sensitive and personal, and non-judgmental, and offer hope.
  • Stigma: Mental health concerns are considered private issues by youth who are very aware of the negative impact of language on people’s lives. More work on stigma reduction is required to better guide youth to appropriate resources. Youth recommend embedding mental health information into school curriculum.
  • Credible Sites: Youth search for information when a problem arises. A more coordinated approach to providing youth with information on searching for credible information online is required.
  • Supportive Spaces, Places and People: Outside the online world, youth need to be able to access consistent and reliable information wherever they turn. Educators, social workers, counselors, and parents need to know at least one or two credible websites to meet youth’s needs for information. Supportive people and spaces are important for those seeking help.
  • The Online Environment: Websites should be easy to navigate and visually engaging. Mental health information should be youth-centric. Expand messaging through vehicles that are popular with youth; use Facebook, Twitter, video blogs, and social media resources as gateways to building knowledge about mental health and recovery from mental illness.  

 

 

How this report can be used

This report can be used by educators, health care providers, and decision-makers to improve online resources. Key recommendations:
- Create and identify high-quality child & youth-centric mental health knowledge online
- Develop a common language that will help improve mental health literacy online
- Create new and exciting opportunities to engage children and youth online 
- Improve access to mental health information online
- Inform and build knowledge online in a way that supports the MHCC’s efforts to reduce stigma

 

Type of study: Synthesis report
Population addressed: children and youth
Key words: Mental health, mental illness, youth, online, website, stigma, social media 
Contact: Mental Health Commission of Canada, www.mentalhealthcommission.ca
Language of report: English and French

 

 

 

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