University of Sussex
journal.pone.0304470.pdf (673.84 kB)

Developing a hope-focused intervention to prevent mental health problems and improve social outcomes for young women who are not in education, employment, or training (NEET): a qualitative co-design study in deprived coastal communities in South-East England

Download (673.84 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-10, 13:26 authored by Clio BerryClio Berry, Julia Fountain, Lindsay Forbes, Leanne Bogen-Johnston, Yelena Zylko, Alice Tunks, Sarah Hotham, Daniel Michelson

Young women who are not in education, employment, or training (NEET) experience poorer health and social outcomes compared to non-NEET young women and to NEET young men, especially in deprived areas with intersecting inequalities. The evidence on effective public health approaches is scarce. Interventions that target hope, which NEET young women notably lack, offer a promising theory-driven and intuitive means to prevent mental health problems and improve social outcomes. Hope can be defined as a goal-focused mindset comprising self-agency (motivation and self-belief) and pathways (identifying routes to achieving goals). Hope is implicated in a variety of evidence-based psychosocial interventions for young people, but is not directly targeted by existing prevention programmes for NEET populations. The current study used a phased qualitative research design and participatory methods to model a hope-focused intervention for NEET young women. Phase 1 investigated population needs and intervention parameters through semi-structured interviews with 28 key informants living or working in disadvantaged coastal communities in South-East England. The sample comprised eight NEET young women, four family members, and 16 practitioners from relevant support organisations. Phase 2 refined intervention parameters and outcomes through co-design sessions with four NEET young women, followed by a theory of change workshop with 10 practitioners. The resulting intervention model is articulated as a mentor-supported, in-person psychosocial intervention that builds hope by enhancing positive sense of self and time spent in meaningful activities, before explicitly teaching the skills needed to identify, set, and pursue personally meaningful goals.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Published version






Public Library of Science (PLoS)

Department affiliated with

  • Primary Care and Public Health Publications
  • BSMS Publications


University of Sussex

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Publications)


    No categories selected



    Ref. manager