Exploring Human Rights in the Context of Young People's Mental Health Services

Prof Doc Thesis

Sharville, R. 2019. Exploring Human Rights in the Context of Young People's Mental Health Services. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.874x0
AuthorsSharville, R.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This study was an exploration, from a human rights perspective, of the experiences and views of young people in an inpatient psychiatric unit. The starting point was that young people’s views and perspectives on human rights issues in their mental health care are important to understand, in order to better inform practices within mental health services. The key research questions of the study were:

(a) How do young service users understand human rights in the context of a young people’s psychiatric inpatient unit?
(b) What do they experience as ‘human rights issues’?

A critical realist epistemological stance was taken in the research, and the qualitative study design involved individual interviews with eight young people in an inpatient mental health unit specifically for young people. A thematic analysis yielded six key themes and a number of sub-themes. The key emerging themes identified were:

Theme 1: “I don’t know anything about it”: Explicit and implicit understanding of human rights
Theme 2: “Lost in the world”: Connection and relationships
Theme 3: “I’m just told what to do”: Heard and involved
Theme 4: Equality and protection from discrimination
Theme 5: Harm and iatrogenic effects
Theme 6: Balancing safety and restriction

In seeking to understand young people’s views on human rights, this study has explored the breadth of care practices that could be experienced as harmful, disrespectful, discriminatory and diminishing of young people’s dignity, privacy, and opportunity to exercise autonomy and build connections with others. Further, this study has highlighted the enormous complexity, and urgency, of developing mental health services which enable young people’s views and wishes to be respected - as human beings with human rights.

PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.15123/uel.874x0
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Publication dates
PrintMay 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Nov 2019
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