Experiences of adults who as children lived with a parent experiencing mental illness in a small-scale society: A Qualitative study

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6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction An estimated 23% of children worldwide live with a parent experiencing mental illness. These children are exposed to emotional and psychosocial challenges. Little is known about these children when living in small-scale societies. Aim To explore how adults, who as children lived with parents experiencing mental illness in a small-scale society, recalled their childhood life. Method Individual interviews with 11 adults were analysed using content analysis. Results Living as a child with a parent experiencing mental illness in a small-scale society was described as "living in a paradox" which emerged from three categories: "intergenerational help and caring," "barriers understanding parental illness" and "everybody knows everybody". The children received little or no support from family members, nor from health and education professionals. Discussion In a small-scale society, stigma surrounding mental illness is notable. Families often attempt to conceal mental illness from outsiders with negative or adverse effects on children. Implications for practice Mental healthcare professionals need to consider the needs of children who have parents experiencing mental illness. It is imperative for the well-being of the patients' children to support them in understanding what is happening, turn gossiping in a positive direction and address stigma in the communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-87
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Mental Health and Nursing
Volume25
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

Keywords

  • caring
  • children
  • gossiping
  • stigma
  • parental mental illness
  • small-scale society
  • Faroe Islands

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