Authors: Shari Matthews-Cowey
Event: 2000 TheMHS Conference
Subject: research, isolation, recommended, book of proceedings
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Since the move from institutionalisation to community based mental health care, many families play a primary role in caring for relatives suffering from a mental disorder. This paper reports on a research project which sought to understand the experience of family carers living in rural communities. Focused in-depth interviews were conducted with 43 families caring for a relative suffering from a mental disorder and addressed the issues for families in relation to their role as carers and their access to services and support in a rural environment. A key finding of the research is that families recognise both the need for prevention and promotion of mental health but also describe the difficulty in meeting these needs through formal mental health care services. Family carers reported that rural mental health services responded well to a crisis situation, however, little help was available before and after a crisis, and carers felt they battled in isolation to help their relatives with prevention and promotion issues. This paper highlights from the family’s perspective the inconsistency between defined goals such as early intervention and prevention, both at a policy and service delivery level, and the resources and opportunities to meet these goals.