Researching youth attitudes towards careers in mental health


Devon Partnership Trust (DPT) is a leading provider of mental health and learning disability services to adults living in Devon and the wider South West.

The team at DPT saw the 16+ age group as a key audience for targeting early with messages about careers in mental health.


The main purpose of the research was to understand the levels of knowlege that this age group have of the various careers in mental health, the pathways to these careers and the potential employers in the area.

DPT also wanted to understand the motivators and barriers that this age group had with working in mental health. This in turn could then be used to inform the team at DPT how best to communicate with this age group.


2 focus groups were held at Exeter College with those studying Level 2 and Level 3 BTECs in Health and Social Care. The lecturer at the College was responsible for recruiting the respondents.

Each group lasted around an hour with a mixture of ages and genders.


The research highlighted that, whilst there was low awareness of the range of careers in the field of mental health and learning disability, there was considerable interest among young people in this area. There was also a perception that mental health nurses aren’t particularly well paid.

The marketing team at DPT were able to use the findings from the research to work with Exeter College and develop communications targeted at this age group, helping to raise overall awareness and providing information on possible career pathways for students.


  • Public sector


  • Behavioural and attitudinal research

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