Producing Narratives on Access to Mental Health Services in Rural Communities: A Participatory Project with Young People Experiencing Psychosis

Poster C85, Saturday, October 22, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Katherine Boydell1, Brenda Gladstone2,3, Elaine Stasiulis3, Shevaun Nadin4, Simon Davidson5, Chiachen Cheng4; 1Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 2Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 3The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 4Centre for Applied Health Research – St. Joseph’s Care Group, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, 5Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Background: Young people experiencing psychosis and living in rural and remote communities are at increased risk of higher rates of harmful alcohol use and social isolation. Further, they often face barriers to early access to specialized intervention services. This participatory project uses an innovative arts-based research methodology to address issues of access to (mental) health care by young people experiencing psychosis in a rural community. Methods: 9 young people (16-23 years) worked together, guided by adult facilitators, to produce individual 2-3 minute multi-media digital stories consisting of visual images, music and voice-over narration to describe how they manage the experience of psychosis in everyday life. Participants learned to think critically about their own stories, as well as the stories of their peers. Project activities were documented using participant observation and informal interviewing, formal group discussion, and detailed observational and reflexive field notes. Results: In this presentation we share one or two digital stories to demonstrate young people’s help-seeking experiences in rural communities. In addition, as part of the overall analysis, we describe the audiences young people wanted to share their stories with and why; and the impact that the participatory, qualitative and arts-based study had on the young participants. Conclusions: Digital stories are powerful vehicles for young people experiencing psychosis to tell stories about issues they identify as important. In addition to gaining new skills through the digital storytelling process, young people want these stories to be used to educate and provoke audiences who can instigate individual- and system-level change.

Topic Area: Translational Research

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