Experience of mental illness in the context of poverty and service reform
Thesis (MA (Psychology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.
Many researchers have argued that social factors such as poverty and urbanisation play a role in the experience of and may be risk factors for mental disorders. There is however a paucity of research examining this issue, particularly in developing countries, where the prevalence of mental disorders has been shown to be as high, if not higher than in developing countries. The present study aimed to begin to address this gap by collecting in depth exploratory data that could inform further study in the field. We conducted ten qualitative case studies consisting of semi structured interviews with family members of households caring for a member with a mental illness. The specific factors of interest were the role of structural factors, namely, municipal and health services in the experience of mental illness. Data were analysed thematically, using an adaptation of Yin’s (2003) approach. The findings indicate that factors associated with service delivery and cost recovery in poor urban contexts may increase stress and burden on households who are caring for a member with a mental illness. This has implications for the course and experience of mental illness and the primary environment in which care is received. These claims are tentative and further research is needed to substantiate them.