An exploration of university students' experiences with depression
Simko, Matthew D.
Master of Education
Stigma (mental health)
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This thesis explores how university students have experienced depression during their life in an attempt to develop a greater understanding of current mental health issues. Links between depression and schooling were also investigated in addition to factors which influence depression. The study employed a phenomenographical research approach. Semi-structured interviews, field notes, and document analysis were the three forms of data collection. Interview participants were seven university students (19-25 years of age) who had a self-declared form of depression. They partook in an hour-long interview directed by a semi-structured interview guide. The data from all sources was organized into an outcome space to display the categories of description which illustrate a number of ways in which university students experience depression. Findings showed that internal feelings and perceptions, environmental circumstances, family interactions, perceptions of others, positive processes, relationships, interactions at school, accessibility to aid, and mental health awareness were all prominent descriptive categories which the participants discussed in the study. Experiences could also be grouped into internally guided experiences, externally guided experiences, or mutually guided experiences. From connections between the findings and construction of an outcome space, a discussion regarding implications was composed to better understand the human experience of depression and what information might be useful in aiding initiatives to support those with depression.