A journey of discovery: Experiences of carers of people with mental illness seeking diagnosis and treatment for their relative

Michael Olasoji, Philip Maude, Kay McCauley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This study explores the experiences of informal carers of people with mental illness in an Australian mental health service. A qualitative descriptive approach was used with data collected via focus group interviews with a purposive sample of 19 carers. Data analysis revealed two major themes: (a) "Something is not right" and (b) "Now we have a diagnosis." The carers noticed that there was something wrong with their relative before they received a diagnosis but were often hesitant to engage Mental Health services. Carers have trouble understanding if the problems they are witnessing are part of normal development, contemporary culture, or are symptoms of mental illness. Fear of stigma remains a barrier to accessing services and early diagnosis. Findings suggest a need to target support for informal carers in the period prior to and leading to the establishment of a mental health diagnosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-228
Number of pages10
JournalIssues in Mental Health Nursing
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2016

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