- Johns Hopkins University
Adolescents' mental health and emotional problems: a qualitative study in Switzerland
This project was part of a multinational study supported by United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and coordinated by the John Hopkins Coordinating Centre of the Global Early Adolescent Study.
This exploratory qualitative research aimed to explore the mental health of young people in their communities around the world through focus groups (FG). We conducted an exploratory qualitative research on mental health in the French-speaking region of Switzerland. This article focuses on the coping strategies of adolescents when they face mental health problems. Our study included 4 FGs separated by gender (female/male) performed between March and April 2021.
The concept of mental health was very vague for the participants. School was reported as a major source of stressors and may have negative effects on participants' mental health. This distress has been amplified with the COVID-19 pandemic and the perceived instability of participants' future. Furthermore, participants reported that poor body image was a major issue threatening the mental health of adolescents, especially among females and on social media. Finally, participants considered that social relations, more particularly friendships, were one of the main protective factors for mental health, even if peer pressure was also considered as a stress factor. Given the fact that the concept of mental health was very abstract for the participants, increased levels of mental health literacy are needed.