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

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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 …

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  • Sources of funding: Newcastle West Primary Care Group and Newcastle City Health Trust.

  • For correspondence: Dr J Kai, Department of Primary Care and General Practice, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK. j.p.kai{at}

  • A modified version of this abstract appears in Evidence-Based Mental Health.