Date of Conferral





Social Work


Alice Yick


Although adolescents experience psychological difficulty at a rate higher than any other age group, most do not get the support they need. The purpose of this study was to explore perceptions about barriers, facilitating factors, and help-seeking preferences for psychological support among adolescents. This study involved Best, Gil-Rodriguez, Manktelow, and Taylor’s conceptual framework pathways to online help-seeking to help explain adolescents’ perceptions of factors that influence them seeking support as well as identify pathways for support. A qualitative meta-synthesis design was used to synthesize findings of individual qualitative studies into themes around the central phenomenon of adolescent help-seeking. Data were collected by conducting an exhaustive literature review that initially identified 634 potential records, 16 of which met the specific inclusion criteria. The findings of this study indicate that adolescents identify 2 distinct pathways for support: formal and informal sources. Adolescents in the studies identified preferred informal sources of support as family (most often mothers), and school personnel (most often teachers), and most did not see formal sources as a viable option. Trust emerged as a primary factor in who, if anyone, adolescents chose to seek emotional support from. Other indicators of help-seeking included self-reliance, mental health literacy, stigma, and helper characteristics. Social change implications of this study include encouraging opportunities for schools to promote help-seeking by increasing mental health literacy for both students and staff and collaborating with families and professionals to promote transition to formal services.