Mother’s perceptions of child mental health problems and services: A cross sectional study from Lahore

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 Reprinted from Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences Vol. 32 No.3 May-June 2016

Mother’s perceptions of child mental health problems
and services: A cross sectional study from Lahore

Nazish Imran, Sania Ashraf, Rabia Shoukat, Muhammad Ijaz Pervez

ABSTRACT

Objective: To assess the perceptions of mothers regarding child mental health problems, its causes, preferred treatment options, and to determine whom they would consult, if their child had a psychiatric illness.

Methods: Following informed consent, a questionnaire covering perceptions regarding various aspects of child mental illness was used for data collection from mothers. They were asked to identify the symptoms and behaviours they considered psychopathological in children, which treatments they would prefer, where they would turn for help with a mentally ill child, and their understanding of the causes of child psychiatric disorders in addition to ways to increase awareness of child psychiatric issues in the society.

Results: Ninety one mothers participated in the study. They equally perceived emotional, behavioural and cognitive symptoms as suggestive of mental ill health in childhood. Mothers perceived multiple causes of child mental health problems, including family problems, economic difficulties, social adversity and possession by evil spirits. A substantial proportion preferred medication, recitation of Holy Quran and psychotherapy as the preferred treatment options. Overall, mothers preferred consulting health professionals than religious scholars and faith healers. They were keen for steps to increase mental health awareness within their society.

Conclusion: Despite different cultural perspective, mothers exhibit good understanding of symptoms of child mental health issues and appear open to various services and treatment options. Understanding parental perceptions and expectations from child psychiatric services are crucial in increasing families’ engagement in treatment.

Reference: Imran N, Ashraf S, Shoukat R, Pervez MI. Mother’s perceptions of child mental health problems and services: A cross sectional study from Lahore. Pak J Med Sci. 2016;32(3):778-781.   doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.12669/pjms.323.9775