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Youth friendliness in mental health and addiction services: protocol for a scoping review [2017]

Introduction To better reach youth in need of mental health and addiction (MHA) services, there is increasing emphasis on making MHA services ‘youth friendly.’ However, it is unclear what youth friendliness means on a practical level. This scoping review explores (1) how youth friendliness in mental health services is defined in the literature, (2) what characteristics make MHA services youth friendly and (3) how youth friendliness is expected to impact service use by young people.

Methods A search will be conducted of eight electronic bibliographic databases over the last 15 years (2002–2017) to identify literature on youth friendliness consistent with the modern youth experience. Grey literature will also be searched. The search and literature selection process will include all study designs, as well as non-research literature. Two independent raters will determine eligibility based on a review of the titles and abstracts of the identified literature, followed by full text reviews when required. Data will be extracted from the identified literature and then synthesised using qualitative and quantitative approaches. As a final step, we will conduct stakeholder consultations with youth, family members and service provider groups to validate the findings and identify any characteristics of youth friendliness that they deem important that were not reported in the findings.

Ethics and dissemination Results will be disseminated through a peer-reviewed publication, as well as international, national and local conference presentations. Agency reports will be developed to present the findings in a user-friendly format, including a youth-friendliness checklist for youth-serving organisations. Research ethics approval has been obtained for the consultation component of this study.

Lisa D Hawke, Kristin Cleverley, Cara Settipani, Maureen Rice, Joanna Henderson

BMJ Open, Volume 7, Issue 9, 2017

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