Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Adolescents, social support and help-seeking behaviour

An international literature review and programme consultation with recommendations for action

Barker, Gary

Publication details

Number of pages: 56
Publication date: 2007
Languages: English
ISBN: 9789241595711
WHO reference number: WHO discussion papers on adolescence



This paper addresses two crucial issues in the health and development of adolescents - firstly, what sources of social support are available to them in their communities; and secondly, within the possible sources of support available to them, whom do they turn to for support and why. They are crucial issues because who adolescents can turn to, and who they in fact turn when they need help can make a huge difference to their lives.

The paper contains the following:

  • The findings of a literature review on the health-seeking behaviour of adolescents.
  • The results of consultations with 35 adolescent health programmes from around the world.
  • Conclusions and recommendations for action.
  • A tool that could be used to carry out a rapid assessment of available social supports and help-seeking behaviours of adolescents.