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Barriers to pathways to care for family members of persons with severe mental illness in a family-centered service

, Amit Nahoum Shaty, Anat Shalev
Published: 1 January 2022

Abstract: Research aimed at understanding the barriers that family members of persons with mental illness may encounter in seeking supportive and preventative services from social workers during the hospitalization of their family member is scarce. Therefore, a cross-sectional survey study was implemented among 120 family members of persons with mental illness in family-centered services in two psychiatric hospitals in Israel. The research instrument included structured questionnaires and open-ended questions examining the barriers to seek help and the experience of families caring for a person with mental illness. The findings indicate that having a person with mental illness in the family may have significant implications on the barriers experienced by family members to seek help for themselves. The extent of the barriers could be related to factors such as the stigma they may experience, overwhelming reactions, lack of knowledge about the mental illness and about the availability of services for families, and dilemmas about seeking help. Social workers are in a key position in psychiatric hospitals to identify and reduce the individual as well as the contextual barriers. To increase family members’ readiness to seek help and their access to early intervention, they should adopt a family-centered approach.
Keywords: Barriers / family members / mental illness / pathways to care / early intervention

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