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The experiences of parents of children with mental disability regarding access to mental health care

RA Coomer


Objective: The aim of this qualitative study was to describe the problems that parents or caregivers of children with mental health disabilities and disorders in Namibia experience when accessing healthcare resources for their children.

Method: Data was collected through focus group discussions with the participants and individual interviews with the key informants. Overall, a total of 41 people provided information for this study. Thematic data analysis was used to assess the data.

Results: The main barriers experienced by the parents were poor service provision, transport and money, whilst access to education services facilitated access to healthcare services.

Conclusion: The challenges go beyond commonly-reported problems such as sub-optimal service provision and include the basic challenge of lack of transportation to reach healthcare services. Many of the barriers identified in this study have been related to general problems with the healthcare system in Namibia. Therefore there is a need to address general concerns about healthcare provision as well as improve specific services for children with mental health disabilities and disorders in Namibia.

Keywords: Mental health; Barriers; Namibia; Service provision; Children