Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Sarah Foley, Maria Dempsey, Nollaig Frost et al
17th Annual Psychology, Health & Medicine Conference
Supporting Practitioners Who Service Online Mental Health Support: A Pluralist Qualitative Analysis
Poster Presentation
Optional Fields
The aim of this research was to examine the ways in which young people understand depression in online contexts using pluralistic qualitative methods. Pluralism in qualitative research is the application of more than one qualitative method to the same data to understand the concept under examination, allowing for a critical examination of methodology and reflexivity in qualitative research. The study aimed to examine the multiple understandings of depression in order to inform service providers. Method: Ten researchers conducted analysis on data from Reach Out Ireland, an online resource for mental health information for young people. Data consisted of discussions of depression on public online forums. Each Analyst conducted a qualitative analysis of their choice, including: Thematic Analysis, Discourse Analysis, Foucauldian Discourse Analysis and Narrative Analysis. Findings were then considered pluralistically, examining the patterns and contrasts across the findings. Results: Results indicate that young peoples understanding of depression is varied and complex, borrowing from medical, metaphorical and experiential narratives of depression to present their need for help and advice. Pluralistic analysis identified the nuances and reflexivity apparent in the findings, as the researchers reflected on their positioning and own cultural framing of their analysis. Discussion: Our findings have a number of implications for service providers such as Reach Out Ireland. The reflective accounts of the emotional impact of the analysis from the perspective of the analysts suggests a need for psychological support for service providers engaging with these accounts. The analysis also suggest that many young people seek online advice regarding mental health, in response to a lack of opportunity or willingness to engage in other mental health services. The varied use of language used to construct accounts of depression can provide suggestions as to how to best communicate with users in this online context.