Youth mental health, a discursive change

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Anne Berthu Petersen
  • Luljeta Deli
  • Anne Fischer Jespersen
4. term, Public Health, Master (Master Programme)
Problem: Danes experiencing mental health issues has increased significantly in the past few years despite increased political awareness on mental health. Based on the participants' self-reported health condition, the incidence of mental health issues is particularly highest among young people aged 16-24 years.
Objective: The aim of this master thesis is to contribute with knowledge in order to make a change in the health promotion and prevention field. This in order to promote young people’s mental health and change the increasing number of young people with mental health issues.
Method: In order to answer the thesis, a discourse analysis approach is used. The approach is inspired by Norman Fairclough's critical discourse analysis and concepts of modality, intertextuality, hegemony and ideology. The thesis takes the starting point in poststructuralist scientific theory. Furthermore, a systematic literature research has been conducted to identify strategies and interventions focusing on promoting young people's mental health in an international context. Additionally, the theoretical perspective of this thesis is based on key concepts from Geoffrey Rose and Bruce G. Link and Jo C. Phelan.
Results: The main result of this master thesis shows that the dominant discourse in national and municipal documents appears to be characterized by a preventive approach with a liberalistic approach. This point of view is criticized throughout the news media, where the dominant discourse appears to be a health promotion strategy with a more socialistic approach. Furthermore, the results shows that a health-promoting approach is more likely to cause long lasting change and benefit the entire population.
Conclusion: Based on the results, this thesis concludes that increased focus both national and municipal on health promotion through population-oriented strategies should occur, as there is a potential for a sustained change that can contribute to a positive impact on young people’s mental health. A way of changing this in practice is to propose a health promotion discursive change addressed to policy decision makers. The thesis is limited to submitting proposals for a discursive change and lacks knowledge when it comes to implementation strategies. Advantageously, this could be investigated in future studies.
Publication date6 Jun 2018
Number of pages181
ID: 280484847