Mental health and life satisfaction among youth with disabilities and experiences of services in the post-pandemic period (D-youth)

Using mixed-methods, we are providing deeper insight into the phenomenon. The quantitative research is based on population and register-based data from Finland and Norway. One data source will cover the Nordic countries. In Finland, we will use population-based data, disaggregated by disability, to investigate changes in mental health problems and their associated living conditions and background factors, as well as in unmet needs for services at school during the postpandemic. In Finland and Norway, we will use register data to examine whether there were changes in healthcare use before, during, and after the pandemic, whether these varied between youth with and without disabilities, and whether living conditions and background factors influenced them.

Based on the data concerning different Nordic countries, we will investigate changes in life satisfaction and changes in the unmet needs for health services during the post-pandemic period among youth with and without disabilities.

We will deepen our understanding of this phenomenon by the qualitative research conducted in Norway, Iceland, and Sweden. Through interviews in Norway, we will explore the subjective consequences of unmet needs for services during and after the pandemic among youth with disabilities. Through focus groups in Iceland, we will investigate subjective experiences of well-being and services among youth with disabilities, and whether the living conditions and background factors shape these experiences.

Finally, through focus groups and interviews in Sweden, we will investigate the consequences of the pandemic on health, participation, and social support for youth with intellectual disabilities and whether restrictive measures affected these experiences.

The information obtained from this study will support the equality and rights of youth with disabilities in Nordic schools and societies. It may be used to develop targeted support for welfare and service systems for youth with disabilities in Nordic countries, and to make recommendations to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and similar crises on mental health, life satisfaction, and access to services among youth with disabilities. Thus, our research will provide knowledge for stakeholders in the Nordic social, health, and education sectors.