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Community Pract. 2012 Apr;85(4):34-7.

Parent perspectives of clinical psychology access when experiencing distress.

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  • 1Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust.


Around 20 to 30% of parents experience mental health difficulties within their child's first year, but only a small proportion go on to access specialist services. This is despite growing evidence around the positive benefits of psychosocial interventions for both parents and children. Previous research highlights facilitators and barriers to generic healthcare services for mothers with postnatal depression. The current study adopted a qualitative methodology to explore parents' own perceptions of the barriers and facilitators to clinical psychology specifically. Seven women took part in the study, most of whom had no previous involvement with specialist mental health services. A thematic analysis of interview data suggested six key themes in relation to the research question: 'The importance of connecting', 'Pressing the danger button', 'I'm not mad', 'More round care', 'Psychological distress as barrier' and 'Making space, making sense'. These are presented alongside a consideration of the clinical implications for community-based practitioners, including clinical psychologists.

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