Looked after adolescents' experience of mental health services
The main aim of this study was to gain an in-depth understanding of looked after adolescents' views of what help they needed for their mental health difficulties and their experience of the mental health services that are currently available to them. It was hoped that this investigation would provide ideas to improve current service provision. Semi-structured interviews were used to interview six females aged 13-17 years from a Looked After Children (LAC) Team, which is part of a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was employed to analyse the accounts generated in the interviews. The results indicated a number of mental health as well as social difficulties for the participants. They described a variety of emotional and behavioural difficulties, which included experiencing depression, self-harming behaviour and eating difficulties. Relationships also seemed to be an area of difficulty that featured for this sample of young people. With regards to mental health services, the participants' talked about having a positive experience, feeling supported, their relationship with their therapist and their ambivalence about receiving services. Whilst positive experiences were discussed the participants' were also able to reflect on negative aspects of the service, and consequently ideas for service improvement were generated.