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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Susan Walsh

The purpose of this paper is to describe processes of learning from personal experiences of mental distress when mental health service users participate in occupational…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe processes of learning from personal experiences of mental distress when mental health service users participate in occupational therapy education with tutors and students who have also had experiences of mental distress.

Design/methodology/approach

A post-structural theoretical perspective was applied to stories which emerged from the research process. Semi-structured group and individual interviews were used with three service users, three students and three tutors (including the author) who had all had, at some time in their lives, experiences of mental distress.

Findings

Stories based on previously hidden personal experiences of mental distress began to shift dominant understandings. Further, as educators, service users challenged whose authority it is to speak about mental distress and permitted different narrative positions for students and tutors. However, technologies of power and technologies of self of powerful discourses in professional education continued to disqualify and exclude personal knowledges. Learning from stories requires a critical approach to storytelling to expose how hidden power relations maintain some knowledges as dominant. Further, learning requires narrative work, which was often hidden and unaccounted for, to navigate complex and contradictory positions in learning.

Social implications

Although storytelling based on personal experience can help develop a skilled and healthy mental health workforce, its impact will be limited without changes in classrooms, courses and higher education which support learning at the margins of personal/professional and personal/political learning.

Originality/value

Learning from stories of mental distress requires conditions which take account of the hidden practices which operate in mental health professional education.

Details

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, vol. 11 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-6228

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Article
Publication date: 10 April 2017

Sue Holttum

This paper discusses two recent studies of mental health professionals who have experience of mental distress, one in the USA and one in Australia. The purpose of this…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper discusses two recent studies of mental health professionals who have experience of mental distress, one in the USA and one in Australia. The purpose of this paper is to highlight different experiences, first of largely concealing their experience, and second of disclosing and using it.

Design/methodology/approach

The Australian study examined the barriers experienced by mental health professionals, including trainees, in relation to seeking help. The USA study reported on a sample of mental health professionals who were doing well, including leaders of services, despite current or past mental distress.

Findings

Both studies included more psychologists than other mental health professionals. Australian mental health professionals reported similar fears and barriers to those found in other studies, in addition to concern about their colleagues’ duty to report impairment to the regulating body. Professionals in the USA-based study were described as potentially helpful in reducing stigma about mental distress because their achievements demonstrated that recovery is possible. However, many of them were also cautious about who they disclosed to, and wanted further reduction in stigma and discrimination.

Originality/value

The Australian study highlighted specifically that the requirement to report impairment to the regulator deterred people from disclosing distress at work, making it less likely that they would get help. The USA-based study was ground-breaking in documenting achievements of a substantial sample of mental health professionals with experience of mental distress. Potentially more professionals being “out and proud” might help increase recovery and social inclusion for service users more generally.

Details

Mental Health and Social Inclusion, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-8308

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Article
Publication date: 16 May 2019

Fiorella Pia Salvatore, Ajka Relja, Ivona Šimunović Filipčić, Ozren Polašek and Ivana Kolčić

The impact of eating habits on mental health is gaining more attention recently. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the association between mental distress and…

Abstract

Purpose

The impact of eating habits on mental health is gaining more attention recently. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the association between mental distress and the Mediterranean diet (MD) in a community-dwelling adult population of Dalmatia, Croatia.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants from the “10,001 Dalmatians” study from the Island of Korcula and the City of Split were included (n=3,392). Lifestyle habits were investigated using a self-administered questionnaire, while mental distress was evaluated using the General Health Questionnaire-30 (GHQ-30) in a cross-sectional design. MD compliance was assessed using the Mediterranean Diet Serving Score. Multivariate linear regression analysis was used in the analysis.

Findings

MD compliance was associated with lesser mental distress (ß=−1.96, 95% CI −2.75, −1.17; p<0.001). Inverse association was found between mental distress and higher intake of fruits (ß=−0.64; 95% CI −0.89, −0.39; p<0.001), vegetables (ß=−0.39; 95% CI −0.65, −0.13; p=0.003), olive oil (ß=−0.30; 95% CI −0.56, −0.04; p=0.022) and legumes (ß=−0.83; 95% CI −1.66, 0.00; p=0.049). Mental distress was more intense in women, older participants, those with worse material status, subjects with previously diagnosed chronic diseases and in current smokers.

Originality/value

This study suggests beneficial association of MD and overall mental health, offering important implications for public health provisions. Since the literature search did not reveal any previous study on the association between the MD and GHQ-based mental distress in the general population, this study delivers interesting results and fills this knowledge gap.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 121 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2018

David Kealy, Alicia Spidel, Sharan Sandhu, Dan Kim and Andrew Izbicki

While epidemiological studies have linked economic hardship and financial difficulties with psychological distress and suicide, investigation of financial concerns among…

Abstract

Purpose

While epidemiological studies have linked economic hardship and financial difficulties with psychological distress and suicide, investigation of financial concerns among users of public mental health services has been limited. Moreover, empirical data regarding a relationship between financial difficulties and mental health symptoms are lacking. The purpose of this paper is to examine the prevalence of financial difficulties among patients attending community mental health clinics, and to examine the relationship between such difficulties and psychological distress and suicidality.

Design/methodology/approach

Participants attending three community mental health clinics in British Columbia, Canada provided demographic information, including annual income, and completed brief measures of personal financial management, psychological distress and suicidal behavior.

Findings

Although more than half of participants reported good-to-excellent ability to pay their bills on time, nearly half indicated poor long-range saving and financial planning. Lower annual income was directly related to suicidality. Financial management difficulties were associated with psychological distress, and were significantly related to suicidality after controlling for the effects of income and psychological distress.

Originality/value

The findings highlight the need for attention to distress and suicidality as potential sequelae of financial management difficulties, and carry implications for further research, clinical intervention and social policy. The findings confirm the need to address financial needs and money management abilities among users of public mental health services.

Details

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol. 17 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5729

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Article
Publication date: 8 April 2020

Paul Gorczynski, Wendy Sims-Schouten and Clare Wilson

Despite a high prevalence of mental health problems, few students know where to turn for support. The purpose of this study was to gain a UK wide perspective on levels of…

Abstract

Purpose

Despite a high prevalence of mental health problems, few students know where to turn for support. The purpose of this study was to gain a UK wide perspective on levels of mental health literacy amongst university students and to examine the relationship between mental health literacy and mental health help-seeking behaviours.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 300 university students in the UK participated in this online cross-sectional study. Participants filled out the mental health literacy scale, the general help-seeking questionnaire, Kessler psychological distress scale 10, The Warwick-Edinburgh mental well-being scale and the self-compassion scale: short form.

Findings

Overall, 78 per cent of participants indicated mild or more severe symptoms of distress. Students reported lower levels of mental health literacy when compared to students in other nations. Women, bisexuals, and those with a history of mental disorders indicated high levels of mental health literacy. Participants indicated they were most likely to seek support from intimate partners and least likely to seek support from religious leaders. No significant correlations were found between mental health literacy and help-seeking behaviours. Mental health literacy was not correlated with distress, mental well-being or self-compassion. Help-seeking behaviours were only significantly positively correlated with mental well-being.

Originality/value

Universities should address strategies to improve help-seeking behaviours in an effort to address overall mental well-being. Programmes may wish to help provide students with information about accessing face-to-face support systems. Environmental strategies to foster mental well-being on campus should also be explored.

Details

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5729

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Article
Publication date: 2 November 2015

Nicole Margaret Nannen

Peer support workers are becoming more involved in mental health services in Australia. Peer support workers have had to overcome challenges and dilemmas whilst embedding…

Abstract

Purpose

Peer support workers are becoming more involved in mental health services in Australia. Peer support workers have had to overcome challenges and dilemmas whilst embedding their role within mental health settings. This includes coping with scrutiny from fellow colleagues, supporting consumers and managing their own mental health. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper will explore the author’s perspective and experience of working as a peer support worker in a psychiatric hospital and how the skills, knowledge and values she has developed during her recovery from mental illness have been essential in undertaking the daily activities with consumers and clinicians, overcoming the challenges and dilemmas, and managing her own wellness.

Findings

The paper provides insight into the experience of a peer support worker at a psychiatric hospital for adults.

Originality/value

The author’s personal experience of being a peer support worker in a mental health facility.

Details

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, vol. 10 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-6228

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Article
Publication date: 14 September 2012

Bayard Roberts, Pamela Abbott and Martin McKee

The purpose of this paper is to compare levels of psychological distress in 2001 and 2010 in eight countries of the former Soviet Union and to explore how these changes…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to compare levels of psychological distress in 2001 and 2010 in eight countries of the former Soviet Union and to explore how these changes vary for different population groups.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected using two related studies from 2001 (n=14,242) and 2010 (n=15,081). Both studies consisted of nationally representative cross‐sectional household surveys in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine using a standardized questionnaire. Psychological distress was measured using a 12 item instrument, with scores of 10‐12 indicating high psychological distress. Changes in prevalence of high psychological distress were measured between 2001 and 2010 by country, gender, age group, educational level, disability status, personal support and household economic status using descriptive and prevalence rate ratio analysis.

Findings

Levels of high psychological distress decreased from 8.7 per cent in 2001 to 4.9 per cent in 2010 for the whole study region (4.5 per cent to 2.8 per cent for men; 12.0 per cent to 6.5 per cent for women). All study countries recorded decreases in high psychological distress. The adjusted relative rate ratios indicate the observed decreases have not been experienced by men, older age groups, less educated respondents, those with a disabling health condition, low levels of support and bad household economic status.

Originality/value

The study shows decreases in levels of high psychological distress in the study countries, but that decreases were less for socially and economically marginalised populations. This highlights the cycle of poverty, social exclusion and poor mental health in the region. Despite decreases of psychological distress among women, they continue to bear a significantly higher burden than men.

Details

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5729

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Article
Publication date: 15 June 2015

Emma Jean Campbell and Emily Jean Steel

This paper studies the experiences of asylum seekers in Australia. The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between mental wellbeing, living conditions…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper studies the experiences of asylum seekers in Australia. The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between mental wellbeing, living conditions, and Australia’s detention policies in light of human rights.

Design/methodology/approach

Using grounded theory, data were collected via observations, semi-structured interviews, key-informant interviews, and document analysis. Participants included seven asylum seekers and three professionals working with them.

Findings

In light of a human rights framework, this paper reports on the mental distress suffered by asylum seekers in detention, the environments of constraint in which they live, and aspects of detention centre policy that contribute to these environments. The findings highlight a discrepancy between asylum seekers’ experiences under immigration detention policy and Australia’s human rights obligations.

Research limitations/implications

This research indicates human rights violations for asylum seekers in detention in Australia. This research project involved a small number of participants and recommends systemic review of the policy and practices that affect asylum seekers’ mental health including larger numbers of participants. Consideration is made of alternatives to detention as well as improving detention centre conditions. The World Health Organization’s Quality Rights Tool Kit might provide the basis for a framework to review Australia’s immigration detention system with particular focus on the poor mental wellbeing of asylum seekers in detention.

Originality/value

This study links international human rights law and Australian immigration detention policies and practices with daily life experiences of suffering mental distress within environments of constraint and isolation. It identifies asylum seekers as a vulnerable population with respect to human rights and mental wellbeing. Of particular value is the inclusion of asylum seekers themselves in interviews.

Details

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5729

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2020

Mohammad Mojammel Hussain Raihan

The spread of novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has infected millions of people worldwide. Public health emergencies caused by COVID-19 affect not only people’s physical…

Abstract

Purpose

The spread of novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has infected millions of people worldwide. Public health emergencies caused by COVID-19 affect not only people’s physical health but also mental health. This paper aims to summarize recent research findings on the mental health impact of COVID-19 experienced by the general adult population.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper used a systematic approach and aimed to review the literature on mental health problems faced by general adults during the COVID-19 pandemic. The PubMed database has been selected randomly from the Google Scholar, Cochrane Library, Embase and PubMed databases. Ten journal articles published between January and July 2020 were selected from the PubMed database for the final review.

Findings

There is growing evidence that COVID-19 may be an objective risk factor for mental distress among the general adult population. More psychological and social support should be provided to protect adult people’s mental health.

Practical implications

This review will help policymakers develop mental health interventions for the general adult population vulnerable to psychological distress because of COVID-19 pandemic.

Originality/value

This paper is original and contributes to the existing knowledge that the mental health challenges of COVID-19 are widespread. There is, therefore, a need for more psychological interventions for adults, older adults, in particular, to promote mental health and reduce the distress associated with public health emergencies caused by COVID-19.

Details

Mental Health Review Journal, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1361-9322

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Article
Publication date: 31 December 2010

Dora Bernardes, John Wright, Celia Edwards, Helen Tomkins, Darias Dlfoz and Andrew Livingstone

The literature tends to use ‘asylum seeker’ and ‘refugee’ interchangeably, creating uncertainty about the mental health of asylum seekers. However, asylum seekers occupy a…

Abstract

The literature tends to use ‘asylum seeker’ and ‘refugee’ interchangeably, creating uncertainty about the mental health of asylum seekers. However, asylum seekers occupy a unique position in British society which differentiates them from people with refugee status and which may have implications for their mental health. For example, ‘asylum seekers’ are supported and accommodated in dispersal areas under the National Asylum Support Service and they are not entitled to work. This mixed‐methods study investigated asylum seekers' symptoms of psychological distress, using mental health screening questionnaires (N = 29) and asylum seekers' subjective experiences of the asylum process, its potential impacts on their mental health, and participants' suggestions for tackling mental health needs, using in‐depth interviews (N = 8). Asylum seekers, refugees and practitioners working with asylum seekers were consulted from the outset regarding the cultural sensitivity of the measures used. Given the potential limitations of using ‘idioms of distress’ across cultures, interview data provided rich descriptive accounts which helped locate the mental health needs that the asylum seekers experienced in the specificities of each participant's social context. Asylum seekers originated from 13 countries. The results revealed that psychological distress is common among asylum seekers (for example anxiety and post‐traumatic stress), but so are post‐migratory living difficulties (for example accommodation, discrimination, worry about family back home, not being allowed to work). They also report mixed experiences of health and social care services. These results suggest that asylum seekers' unique social position may affect their mental health. Implications for practice are presented and potential limitations highlighted.

Details

International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-9894

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