Prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic, youth have experienced worsening mental health trends. Associated with these trends is a significant proportion of youth who are experiencing unmet mental health needs which occurs when they do not receive the care needed or the quality of the service does not meet their needs. The current study seeks to understand the barriers to mental health services and ideas about improving access among a sample of youth with unmet mental health needs through qualitative interviews and focus groups. The findings indicate that youth currently face barriers at multiple levels most notably at the individual and family level. Youth shared that peer support and destigmatizing mental health services would improve access. These findings highlight the need to continue efforts to improve mental health literacy and seek innovative ways to make mental health services accessible for youth.
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Thesis advisor: Samji, Hasina
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