"Uncharted waters": the experience of parents of young people with mental health problems

Qual Health Res. 2005 Feb;15(2):207-23. doi: 10.1177/1049732304269677.


In this article, the author discusses the experiences of parents of young people with mental health problems and their relations with health care professionals. She conducted qualitative interviews with 25 parents whose teenage child had a diagnosed psychiatric condition. She argues that the experiences of parent-carers can best be understood in the context of the particular relationships involved. The author contextualizes the meanings parents give to care received in wider understandings of parenting and the parental caregiving role. She argues that the parents were deskilled by the condition and by the medical profession. At the same time, parents engaged in a range of actions through which they were reskilled and their parental caregiving role was reestablished.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Attitude to Health
  • Caregivers / education*
  • Caregivers / psychology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disabled Children / psychology*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Parents / education*
  • Parents / psychology
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Professional-Family Relations*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Role