Mothers' Care-Seeking Journeys for Daughters with Depression

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 08:45
Oral Presentation
Sarah GALLANT, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada
Brandi BELL, University of Prince Edward Island, Canada
The objectives were to explore Atlantic Canadian mothers’ experiences seeking mental health care and support for their adolescent daughters’ depression, to illustrate the power dynamics that mothers face in the system while seeking care, and to understand how support for mothers of youth with depression can be improved. The depression care-seeking journeys were depicted through the narratives of seven mothers whose eight daughters accessed their provincial mental health system and obtained a diagnosis of depression. Qualitative semi-structured interviews and visual patient journey mapping methods guided data collection and analysis to assist in understanding mothers’ and daughters' experiences in the mental health system, education system, and family life.

The interview transcripts and journey maps were analyzed using narrative and thematic analysis, where narrative summaries and theme webs were created and analyzed in combination with the participants’ journey maps. The three overarching themes in the care-seeking journeys were marginalization and loss of control, becoming empowered, and hope for the future. Participants’ narratives and visual maps displayed fragmented journeys and exemplified power struggles in their interactions with people in the mental health system, education system, and family life. Examples of marginalization and loss of control included receiving blame, being ignored, and lacking support and guidance. Examples of becoming empowered included questioning professional treatment, educating and advocating for daughters, and understanding daughters’ mental health needs through experience. The final theme of hope for the future consisted of mothers’ main recommendations for improving and facilitating depression care-seeking journeys through the mental health system.

The depression care-seeking journeys of mothers and daughters in Atlantic Canada could be improved by enhancing the continuity of mental health care, increasing collaborative team-based supports within and between systems, and strategizing quality mental health education and accessible service navigation resources for parents, educators, and health providers.