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Background There is an increasing demand for mental health support in primary care, especially for young people. To improve mental health support for young people in general practice, the needs of young people must be considered. Aim To explore the experiences of young people (aged 12–25 years) on receiving mental health care in primary care and identify the needs of young people who present with mental health concerns. Design and setting A systematic review and narrative synthesis. Method This was a systematic review and narrative synthesis. Six databases were searched for literature relating to young people’s experiences of receiving mental health care in primary care. Additional handsearching and manual internet searching were conducted. Narrative synthesis was employed. Results Five papers and a further two reports from manual internet searching were found, resulting in the inclusion of 1823 young people from four different countries (UK, US, Ireland, and Canada) for synthesis. The synthesis generated four themes: the centrality of a trusting relationship; showing empathy and taking concerns seriously; being given time to talk; and barriers to accessing mental health support in primary care. Conclusion Young people need a trusting relationship to discuss sensitive issues. To enable high-quality and effective mental health consultations with young people and the development of trust, GPs require unhurried consultations and the ability to maintain continuity of care.

More information Original publication



Journal article






British Journal of General Practice

Publication Date



Faraz Mughal is funded by a NIHR Doctoral Fellowship (NIHR300957) and was supported by an NIHR School for Primary Care Research GP Career Progression Fellowship.


general practice, mental health, primary health care, systematic review, young people