Evid Based Nurs 5:93 doi:10.1136/ebn.5.3.93
  • Qualitative

People with enduring mental health problems described the importance of communication, continuity of care, and stigma

 QUESTION: How do people with enduring mental health problems experience health care?


Community based qualitative study.


4 general practices serving a disadvantaged locality of 5 wards in {Newcastle upon Tyne}*, UK.


32 people (56% men, mean duration of mental illness of 21 y) who were identified by their general practitioner as disabled by enduring mental ill health (≥2 y impaired social behaviour and inability to keep a job, maintain self care, complete domestic chores, or participate in recreational activities). Exclusion criteria were age <16 years, dementia or other organic brain disorder, or a learning disability.


Individual interviews of 45 minutes to 2 hours were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Theoretical saturation occurred after 34 interviews; 2 interviews were excluded because the respondents did not acknowledge any experience of mental illness. Data were analysed using grounded theory methods. Emerging findings were tested in 21 group interviews with local health professionals.

Main findings

Good therapeutic relationships were regarded as central in participants' contacts with …

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