Background: Adolescents and young people are known to hold negative views about mental illness. There is less known about their beliefs about mental health services and care.
Objective: The aim of this study was to systematically examine literature on the beliefs of adolescents and young people from the general population about mental 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. This was particularly evident in countries such as Palestine and South Africa where prayer was highly valued. Adolescents and young people were uninformed about psychiatric medication. 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 family members was found to have a positive impact.
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. (C) 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.