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"This is the one place I know I can come”: Young people’s experiences of mental health support in a Learning Support Unit

Brickley, Hannah; (2018) "This is the one place I know I can come”: Young people’s experiences of mental health support in a Learning Support Unit. Doctoral thesis (D.Ed.Psy), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The mental health of young people in the UK has been labelled as an emerging public health crisis, with an increasing number of young people who have been identified as having mental health difficulties but with insufficient resources and capacity for specialist services to meet this need. Schools are increasingly being looked to as being settings which are well placed to provide universal and targeted support for young people. The present study aimed to explore how an innovative model of a Learning Support Unit focusing on supporting young people’s social, emotional and mental health (rather than a more traditional focus on behaviour and learning) has worked to meet the needs of its most vulnerable young people through delivering a one-to-one mentoring intervention. Nine young people aged 13-18 took part in the study. A dual analysis process was carried out on qualitative interview data. Firstly, a narrative approach aimed to capture critical moments in individual’s life stories to understand their needs in context. Secondly, owing to commonality across the accounts, a thematic analysis aimed to understand young people’s views and experiences of support. The findings demonstrate how a mentoring relationship which draws on the principles of attachment, set within a flexible and attuned pastoral support system and school ethos, has enabled young people to cope with a diverse range of challenges. For many young people, this was their primary source of emotional support in their lives, and the findings tell in their own words how support has enabled them become more resilient, independent, happy and successful in the face of significant and far-reaching life challenges. Processes such as referral pathways, the mediatory role of mentors, and barriers to support were also captured. Recommendations for schools and educational psychologists to support the mental health and wellbeing of young people are suggested.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: D.Ed.Psy
Title: "This is the one place I know I can come”: Young people’s experiences of mental health support in a Learning Support Unit
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Psychology and Human Development
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10043130
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