Table 1

Summary of inclusion and exclusion criteria

  • School-going adolescents (aged 10–24 years and attend junior high or senior high school) sampled from any of the 46 countries within sub-Saharan Africa, regardless of gender, religious groupings, sexual or gender orientation or health status.

  • Studies involving participants within broad age range, but the computed mean age falls within the age range 10–24 years.

  • Studies involving participants aged younger than 10 years or older than 24 years.

  • Studies involving a wide age range but with study results not disaggregated by age groups.

  • The 46 countries within sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Primary studies conducted within clinical or non-clinical contexts (ie, general population, community, school-based, households or neighbourhoods) involving school-going adolescents.

  • Studies focused on mental health literacy among school-going adolescents, but participants are sampled outside sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Cross-national studies involving countries in sub-Saharan Africa but with study results not disaggregated by country or subregion.

Study designs
  • Primary studies that address at least one of the specified objectives of this review using observational study designs51 or qualitative approaches.

  • Studies involving self-report or direct reporting of mental health literacy by participants.

  • Systematic reviews and umbrella reviews.

  • Protocols of prospective reviews or primary studies.

  • Full text of identified records unavailable or inaccessible, even after contacting authors.

  • Studies based on the same dataset reported in an earlier publication included in this review.

  • Articles not based on data, non-peer-reviewed publications, including grey literature such as theses, correspondence, editorials, opinion pieces and commentaries.

  • Peer-reviewed publications in English or French.

  • Peer-reviewed publications in languages other than English or French.