Coping and support-seeking in out-of-home care: A qualitative study of the views of young people in care in England

Hiller, Rachel M., Halligan, Sarah L., Meiser-Stedman, Richard ORCID:, Elliott, Elizabeth, Rutter-Eley, Emily and Hunt, Tilly (2021) Coping and support-seeking in out-of-home care: A qualitative study of the views of young people in care in England. BMJ Open, 11 (2). ISSN 2044-6055

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Objectives Young people who have been removed from their family home and placed in out-of-home care have commonly experienced abuse, neglect and/or other forms of early adversity. High rates of mental health difficulties have been well documented in this group. The aim of this research was to explore the experiences of these young people within the care system, particularly in relation to support-seeking and coping with emotional needs, to better understand feasible and acceptable ways to improve outcomes for these young people. Design and study setting This study used 1:1 semistructured qualitative interviews with young people in out-of-home care in England, to provide an in-depth understanding of their views of coping and support for their emotional needs, both in terms of support networks and experiences with mental health services. Participants were 25 young people aged 10-16 years old (56% female), and included young people living with non-biological foster carers, kinship carers and in residential group homes. Results Participants described positive (eg, feeling safe) and negative (eg, feeling judged) aspects to being in care. Carers were identified as the primary source of support, with a supportive adult central to coping. Views on support and coping differed for young people who were experiencing more significant mental health difficulties, with this group largely reporting feeling unsupported and many engaging in self-harm. The minority of participants had accessed formal mental health support, and opinions on usefulness were mixed. Conclusions Results provide insight, from the perspective of care-experienced young people, about both barriers and facilitators to help-seeking, as well as avenues for improving support.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: child & adolescent psychiatry,child protection,quality in healthcare,medicine(all),sdg 3 - good health and well-being ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2021 00:54
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 07:41
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2020-038461

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