Title : Caregivers’ Valued Contribution, and Concerns in Caring for the Mentally Ill
Findings reported here form part of a larger research project that examined the perceptions of psychiatric workers in two hospitals in Jamaica concerning patient care for the mentally ill.
Background : When someone is living with mental illness, the entire family and the community may be affected. Strides have been made in Jamaica to effect change in mental health care as evident in the decreased number of patients admitted to the psychiatric hospital or the psychiatric units of hospitals.
Aim: This study sought to examine the workers’ perception of the community’s readiness to accept patients on discharge from the hospital, and the ability of the family members to cope with their loved ones who were returning home.
Method: A qualitative descriptive design was used. Participants were selected through convenience sampling and comprised twenty-two psychiatric workers who, at the time, were working with psychiatric patients in two public hospitals.
Results: The results revealed that the majority of the workers believed that the communities were not equipped to cope with the discharged mental health patients and the caregivers lacked information about mental illness and so were overwhelmed.
Recommendation: There should be the implementation of a community initiative such as a designated day in every month when stakeholders within the community meet and have workshops. These should include sessions during which persons could share their concerns and obtain the necessary help. The mental health workers believed these workshops could be beneficial not only for the family but all the stakeholders involved.