Background: Adolescents and young people are known to hold negative views aboutmental illness. There is less
known on their beliefs about mental health services and care.
Objective: The aimof this study was to systematically examine literature on the beliefs of adolescents and young
people fromthe general population aboutmental health services and care. Factors that positively and negatively
influence these beliefs are also explored.
Methods: Relevant electronic databases were searched for papers published in the English language between
January 2004 and October 2015.
Results: Culture seemed to influence how adolescents and young adults perceived mental health interventions.
Thiswas particularly evident in countries such as Palestine and South Africawhere prayerwas highly valued. Adolescents
and young peoplewere uninformed about psychiatricmedication. They believed that accessing mental health care was a sign of weakness. Furthermore, they viewed psychiatric hospitals and various mental health professionals negatively. Film was found to have a negative impact on how adolescents and young people perceived
mental health services, whereas open communication with familymembers was found to have a positive
Conclusion: Adolescents and young adults hold uninformed and stigmatizing beliefs about mental health treatments,
mental health professionals, and access to care. The sources of these beliefs remain unclear although some at least seem influenced by culture. Further research, (particularly qualitative research) in this area is recommended in order to address current gaps in knowledge.