Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Dr. Susan Rodger


Using the lived experiences of youth in Southwestern Ontario, the current project explores the decision of youth to self-disclose their status of mental illness and disability. To explore the process of disclosure, three research questions were asked: (1) what are the youth’s expectations of disclosing their story to others?; (2) what is the experience of youth with mental illness and disabilities in choosing to disclose their story to others?; and (3) what is important to youth about the decision to disclose or choosing to make their experiences public? Participants' experience of disclosing was documented over four group sessions, one team meeting, one follow-up check-in, and six individual personal journals. A thematic analysis identified three primary themes: Empowerment, Identity, and Meaningful Vision. Implications of these findings are discussed. These results address an important gap in the literature on the process of disclosure for Canadian youth with mental illness using their lived experiences of sharing their stories.