Access to Mental Health Supports and Services in Rural Nova Scotia: Perceptions and Experiences of Young Women
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Although a growing number of Canadian youth live with diagnosed and undiagnosed mental health issues, only one in six youth has access to mental health services and supports. Existing literature suggests there may be numerous barriers and facilitators to accessing mental health supports and services in rural communities. However, there is little research on how youth experience access in rural Canada and virtually no literature on rural Nova Scotia (NS). This study addresses how youth in one rural NS community perceive and experience access to mental health services and supports. The lived experiences of seven young women were collected using semi-structured interviews and analyzed using conceptual ordering. Barriers and facilitators at the individual, family, school and community levels were identified. Youth also suggested ways in which access could be improved in their community. Findings from this study will contribute to the literature and may inform policies and programs in rural communities.