Background: School mental health programs have the potential to bridge the gap in mental health care for young people. There are limited data on the views of young people about these programs in developing countries.
Objectives: The study aimed to determine the views of school-going adolescents on addressing mental health issues in schools.
Methods: In this study, 379 students completed an open-ended semi-structured questionnaire on the suitability of addressing mental health concerns in schools. A subset of students who received a targeted school-based mental health intervention provided additional information on their experience. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis.
Results: The majority of the students indicated that school was not a suitable place for addressing mental health issues. Concerns cited included the deviation from the primary aims of the school system, lack of resources, and the potential for stigmatization. However, the subset of students who received a targeted mental health intervention found it helpful and wished the program could be made more widely available in schools.
Conclusions: This suggests that if well targeted and appropriately delivered, the school-based mental health interventions have the potential to reach Nigerian adolescents in need of mental health interventions, who would; otherwise, be without support.