The imbalance between need and available resources with respect to youth mental ill-health has encouraged a growing body of literature around technology to support existing face-to-face services. However, this literature has not adequately investigated the perspective of youth as consumers and no data exists on the views of rural youth. In response to this gap, in-depth qualitative study investigated the perspectives of rural youth who were currently seeking help at a mental health service. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with a clinical sample of 10 young people (5 female), aged 16–22 years. Participants were recruited from two different mental health services located in two rural South Australian regions. Data were analysed via inductive thematic analysis. Results highlighted a young person’s desire for self-determination around their health and help-seeking within a service current environment that systematically subverts it. Overall, participants had long and complex histories of help-seeking associated with a history of isolation, disadvantage and trauma. A strong need for personal connection in the context of help-seeking was evident. Preferences for, and actual use of, the internet for mental healthcare existed on a continuum from no current (or future desire) to use technologies through to active interest in, and current use of, technologies as an adjunct to face-to-face care. Limited financial and infrastructural resourcing made it more difficult to access help online. Understanding and actively seeking out these views in design and implementation of technologies is in line with the current shift toward more consumer-focused and inclusive service design and delivery.
- Mental health