Kids helping kids: The lived experience of adolescents who support friends with mental health needs

Ashley Roach, Sandra P. Thomas, Samereh Abdoli, Megan Wright, Andria L. Yates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Problem: Adolescent mental health is a significant health care issue. Friends play an important role in the lives of adolescents with mental health concerns and help to improve outcomes related to depression and suicide. However, little is known about the experiences of adolescents who help their friends with these concerns. Methods: A phenomenological research design involving unstructured interviews was used to answer the question: what is the lived experience of adolescents who provide support to friends with anxiety, depression, or who express suicidal ideation?” Participants for this study were aged 16–17 and included both males (n = 2) and females (n = 3). Findings: Participants described their experience as “Kids Helping Kids” which is defined by the following themes: Being Fearful, Maintaining Vigilance, Seeking Knowledge, Keeping Secrets, Involving Others, Setting Boundaries, and Feeling Honored. Conclusion: Helping a friend with mental health concerns can be challenging yet rewarding. Nurses should be aware of this role that some adolescents undertake and include the friends of adolescents with mental health concerns as part of plans of care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-40
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • adolescents
  • friendship
  • mental health
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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