Patient Journeys in Youth Mental Health: Arts-Based Methods for Exploring Youth, Parent, and Service Provider Perspectives
Atlantic Canada Children’s Effective Service Strategies in Mental Health (ACCESS-MH) is a 5-year research study, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. It aims to deepen understanding of child/youth mental health in Atlantic Canada (a region made up of the four most eastern Canadian provinces). The project employs the newest knowledge on youth journeys and arts-based methods and melds it with analysis of statistical data. In this presentation, we will describe our qualitative patient journeys approach to research with children and youth experiencing mental health challenges, parents, and service providers (sample of 240 individuals). Grounded in critical ethnography and Complex Cultural Nesting theory, we incorporate visual mapping and photo-elicitation into in-depth interviews as a way to further engage participants and give emphasis to their often long and complex stories of struggle.
We will present early learnings from this longitudinal study and discuss how arts-based methods such as patient journeys can engage young people and families in a conversation to inform youth mental health research, policy, and action. It is now recognized that people with firsthand knowledge and experience have the most insight into the ways services and supports can be improved to foster recovery. Patient journeys and arts-based research methods are important tools for improving understanding of youth mental health from the perspectives of those most affected.