Appraisal of caregiving and its relationship to family burden and experienced mental health problems in the relatives were investigated as part of a multi-centre study of the quality of mental health services in Sweden performed in 1997. The sample was drawn from relatives of involuntarily and voluntarily admitted patients to acute psychiatric wards. The instrument used was a semi-structured questionnaire, interviewing relatives about the burden, experience of mental health problems and appraisal of the caregiving situation. The results showed a high proportion of relatives engaged in caregiving activities on a daily basis the month before the patient's admission to hospital and a high proportion of relatives appraising the caregiving activities negatively. The burden was more extensive if the relative and the patient were living together, had a longer duration of their relationship, if the relative was rendering caregiving on a daily basis and if the relative appraised caregiving negatively. The relatives' psychological distress was not related to their negative appraisal of caregiving, nor was patient characteristics, such as diagnosis and level of psychosocial functioning. The only factor found to influence the relatives' psychological distress was the duration of relationship to the patient. Interventions reducing psychological distress for relatives who have known the patients for more than 20 years, who live with the patient, who give care on a daily basis and who appraise their caregiving negatively are suggested.
Stigma and discrimination are still prominent features of the life situation of persons with mental illness, adding to the burden of the illness, causing a lowered self-esteem, quality of life and affecting possibilities of adequate housing and work. It is also a major barrier to help seeking. The deinstitutionalization of mental health services has led to a significant increase in contacts between the police and persons with mental illness. It has been argued that police officers should be provided education and training to enable them to interact adaptively and with good outcomes with people with mental illness. The present study is investigating the effectiveness of an anti-stigma intervention in a basic police officer training programme at a university in Sweden.
The study was performed as a controlled pre-post intervention study using a comparison group, and a 6-month follow-up of the intervention group. Attitudes, mental health literacy and intentional behaviour were assessed. Main analyses were made on an intention to treat basis using repeated measures ANOVA. A total of 120 participants at a basic police officer training programme were included.
Time by group analyses showed improvements in the intervention group in overall score of attitudes and regarding the subscale Open minded and pro integration, in intentional behaviour (willingness to work with) and in 4 out of 6 items assessing mental health literacy. At the 6-month follow-up the intervention group had, as compared to baseline, improved attitudes in both overall score and in two of the subscales. Intentional behaviour had also improved in terms of an increased willingness to live or work with a person with mental health problems. Mental health literacy had improved in 3 out of 6 items.
The anti-stigma intervention proved to be effective in changing attitudes, mental health literacy and intentional behaviour. Improvements mainly endured at the 6-month follow-up. The intervention seems promising in facilitating encounters between the police and persons with mental illness. Further studies are needed to disentangle the relative effectiveness of the components of the intervention before further implementation.
Empowerment has become a widespread concept in various social policy contexts referring to different marginalized groups. Empowerment has also been focused within the mental health field although little empirical research exists. The aim of the present study was to investigate internal consistency and construct validity of the Swedish version of an empowerment scale developed for people with a mental illness, Making Decisions. Ninety-two persons were subject to an interview also comprising assessments of quality of life, needs for care, psychiatric symptoms, psychosocial functioning, aspects of the social network, rejection experiences and attitudes of devaluation/discrimination towards people with mental illness. The results showed that the overall scale and the subscales had a good internal consistency, except for the subscale power-powerlessness. A factor analysis revealed two superordinate factors, self-esteem and activism and community and power, with a satisfactory internal consistency. These two factors showed a good construct validity with expected associations to validation measures. Stigma was most markedly associated with self-esteem and activism, and a higher level of education was most strongly associated with community and power. In conclusion, the Swedish version Making Decisions may well be used in further studies of empowerment among people with a mental illness.
BACKGROUND: Legislation was passed in Sweden to stimulate the development of different housing solutions for persons suffering from severe mental illness. Among these solutions are small congregate residences built in the community to provide suitable housing and support for those not able or willing to live independently. AIMS: The general aim of the present study was to compare the psychosocial environment of two types of residences for the persons with severe mental illness - congregate community residences and psychiatric inpatient settings. A specific aim was to see if the former provided higher levels of autonomy than the latter. METHODS: In this cross-sectional study the real version of the Community Oriented Program Environmental Scale (COPES) was administered to residents, patients and staff members. RESULTS: The study showed that the psychosocial environment differs between the two types of settings. Residents and staff in small congregate residences rated higher levels of Autonomy and lower levels of Practical Orientation, Anger and Aggression and Order and Organisation than patients and staff in inpatient settings. CONCLUSIONS: The psychosocial environment profiles for psychiatric settings in different phases of the care process may vary in terms of the aforementioned subscales.
Background Evidence suggests that mental health literacy among the public is low, and stigmatizing attitudes are widespread. So far the effects of anti-stigma campaigns are small, and studies demonstrate that negative attitudes have been quite stable through recent decades. Aims To investigate the relationships between mental health literacy, experience of mental illness and stigmatizing attitudes/social distance towards people with depression or psychosis. Methods A cross-sectional study in which staff members from public services in Sweden (n?=?1027) completed questionnaires covering demographic data, self-reported experience of mental illness, identification of a vignette for depression or psychosis, beliefs about helpful interventions for the illness presented in the vignette, and attitudes and social distance towards people with the illness. Results About 50% of participants could identify depression and less than 40% psychosis. A higher degree of mental health literacy was related to less stigma and social distance but mainly towards people with depression. A similar relationship was shown for having personal or family experience of mental illness and attitudes/social distance. Negative attitudes and social distance were significantly higher in all aspects measured towards a person with psychosis than a person with depression. Conclusions A higher degree of mental health literacy relates to more positive attitudes and less desire for social distance towards people with depression. The differences between depression and psychosis should be taken into account in anti-stigma interventions.
BACKGROUND: The prevalence of minor children in families with a severely mentally ill member, these children's needs for support and the situation of the spouses were investigated as part of a multi-centre study of the quality of the mental health services in Sweden performed in 1986, 1991 and 1997. METHODS: The sample was drawn from relatives of compulsorily and voluntarily admitted inpatients to acute psychiatric wards. The instrument used was a semi-structured questionnaire, interviewing relatives about the burden of relatives, their needs for support and participation in care and items concerning the situation of the under-aged children in these families. RESULTS: The results over the years investigated showed the same proportion of patients admitted to hospital who were also parents to minor children and a decreasing proportion of patients who had the custody of their children. Female patients were more often a parent and also more often had the custody of the children. The majority of the children had needs for support caused by their parent's illness and these needs were met in half of the cases. The healthy spouses in families with minor children more often had to give up their own occupation and to a higher extent experienced own needs for care and support from psychiatric services compared to spouses without minor children. CONCLUSIONS: The study supports that there is an urgent need for the psychiatric services to initiate parental issues in programmes for treatment and rehabilitation to ensure that the specific needs of minor children are met.
AIM: The study investigated clinical and social changes during an 18-month follow-up period in a group (n = 76) of schizophrenic outpatients admitted to a newly implemented outpatient psychosis team. Changes related to level of contact with the psychosis team were also examined as well as aspects of the content of the treatment interventions and work situation from a staff perspective. METHODS: Structured face-to-face interviews with the patients were performed at baseline and after 18 months. The Camberwell Assessment of Need instrument, the Lancashire Quality of Life Profile and the Interview Schedule for Social Interaction were used on both interview occasions along with Global Assessment of Functioning Scale and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale. Thematic open-ended questions were used in staff interviews. RESULTS: Psychiatric symptoms, number of needs and number of met needs decreased, and perceived quality of life improved for the total sample during the follow-up period. Patients only in contact with a psychiatrist in the psychosis team improved more in symptoms and spent fewer days in hospital during follow-up time compared with those who had combined psychiatric and supportive contacts, and were also more satisfied with their medication. Patients with a combined contact deteriorated in psychosocial functioning compared with the group only in contact with a psychiatrist. Some of the elements in treatment interventions and work situation as well as hindrances in providing community-based care adapted to the patients' needs were identified. CONCLUSIONS: Community-based psychiatric services, to a larger extent, need to embrace evidence-based interventions and to perform regular, structured and comprehensive need assessments in order to ensure the effectiveness of interventions. Attention should be paid to staff motivation and education as well as to providing practical guidelines, supervision and support.
Restricted mental health literacy and stigma are barriers to treatment of mental disorders. A Mental Health First Aid training program was tested for implementation in Sweden among employees in the public sector. The aim of the present qualitative study was to explore participants' experiences of the program in more depth, in conjunction with a randomized controlled study. Twenty four persons participated in a total of six focus groups 6-8 months after program participation. Data were analyzed using content analysis. The analysis resulted in five categories illustrating the participants' experiences of the course: increased awareness, knowledge and understanding; influence on attitude and approach; tool box and confidence; feedback on content and layout; and tangible examples of applied knowledge. The most central finding is the fruitfulness of the program's practical focus and use, the increased confidence and inclination to act following program participation, and the importance of experienced instructors.
Studies on perceived discrimination of people with mental illness are largely lacking. The purpose of the study was to investigate perceived discrimination in a sample of users in contact with mental health services in Sweden.
Interviews were conducted with 156 users, asking for perceived and anticipated discrimination during the last 2 years. Background characteristics were also collected.
Perceived discrimination was common. Highest frequencies were reported regarding family (54%), avoidance by people who knew about the mental illness (53%) and in making or keeping friends (50%). A majority of those anticipating discrimination regarding job or education seeking, or starting a close relationship did not report having been discriminated in these areas. Previous hospitalizations were associated with discrimination, and age with anticipated discrimination.
Public stigma and self-stigma have been reported to have a number of negative consequences for people with mental illness. Discrimination is part of this complex situation and this study showed that this largely affects a number of individual life areas posing an obstacle for social integration. Anticipated discrimination or self-stigma was also prevalent and it is pointed out that this to a great extent is an obstacle on its own without being promoted by actual experiences of discrimination.
BACKGROUND: The outcome of less intensive case management services, such as the strengths model, is still inconclusive, which suggests a need for more controlled studies. The aim of the present study was to investigate the outcome of a strengths model of case management service (SCM) compared to standard care. METHODS: Seventy-seven clients with a mental illness and a serious impairment in functioning in social contacts, housing or work situation were randomly allocated to SCM or standard care. Outcome was assessed with regard to use of psychiatric services, changes in symptomatology, psychosocial functioning, social network, needs for care, quality of life and client satisfaction with care. The follow-up period was 36 months. RESULTS: The results showed a greater reduction in needs for care in clients receiving SCM. No differences in clinical or social outcome were shown. Clients receiving SCM also used significantly less days in psychiatric inpatient services and were generally more satisfied with the psychiatric services offered. CONCLUSIONS: SCM failed to improve clinical and social outcome compared to standard care, but was more successful in reducing days spent in hospital, and the clients were also more satisfied with the service compared to standard care.