Situational analysis approach was used to explore the mental health challenges of the lived experiences of adolescents aged 14 to 18 years living in South Africa who have lost their parents to HIV and AIDS. A qualitative phenomenological approach using reflective diaries was used to extract the lived experiences. Fifteen adolescents orphaned by HIV and AIDS aged between 14 to 18 years participated in the study. Eight adolescents made weekly entries for eight months and 7 of the participants brought empty diaries. Two major themes of experiences with loss and expressed emotions emerged from the reflective diaries. Experiences with loss had three subthemes of personal experience with loss, experiences with adoptive families and experiences at school. Anger, discrimination and not being told the truth were espoused from the diaries as mental health challenges. Expressed emotions included expression of anxiety, guilt, pretence, denial and hope. It became clear from these experiences and expressed emotions that adolescents orphaned by HIV and AIDS need love, caring, support and to be given hope for the future.
Key words: Adolescents, lived experiences, mental health challenges, orphans, South Africa.
Copyright © 2021 Author(s) retain the copyright of this article.
This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0