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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Contributing to the development of community-based knowledge translation through the creation, implementation and evaluation of a youth mental health promotion initiative Jenkins, Emily K.


Background: Mental health challenges have been identified as the most significant health issue facing young people. Leaders in the field have advocated for public health approaches to better address this issue. Some scholars have called for interventions informed by young people to enhance relevance and effectiveness of interventions. Knowledge translation (KT) has emerged in the health context as a strategy to promote the uptake of evidence to improve health outcomes; however, the majority of KT research to date has focused on clinical settings. The needs of researchers and practitioners working in community settings to address population-level health outcomes have not been adequately attended to, leading to calls for further development of community-based knowledge translation (CBKT), an approach underpinned by the tenets of participatory research and KT. Given these gaps, the purpose of this research was to contribute to the field of CBKT through the development, implementation and evaluation of a youth-driven mental health promotion initiative. Methods: This study utilized a case study design and was conducted in a rural community located in North-Central British Columbia, Canada. A mixed methods approach incorporating quantitative surveys, qualitative interviews and ethnographic field notes was used to examine the contextual factors associated with adolescent mental health, develop a CBKT framework to inform future work in this field, and assess the influence of a CBKT initiative on youth mental health. Findings: Findings demonstrate ways in which adolescent mental health may be influenced by contextual factors, evidence that can be used to inform change efforts to improve youth mental health. Further, a theoretically-driven and evidence-informed CBKT framework is introduced and used to illustrate how it can inform context-relevant, youth-driven initiatives. The CBKT approach utilized was shown to make a contribution to enhancing positive aspects of mental health such as resilience and connectedness among young people. Further, this approach was linked by study participants to changes at a community-level that foster mental health outcomes such as civic engagement, shifting norms and empowerment. Conclusions: CBKT shows promise as an approach to addressing one of the leading public health issues facing young people today, mental health challenges.

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