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Background: Common mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders are increasing globally. There remain significant gaps in health services provision and support for mental illness linked to stigma in developing countries.
Aim: Our study aimed to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a mental health intervention for caregivers of mental health service users.
Setting: Low-income South African communities.
Method: Our study qualitatively assessed the feasibility of an anti-stigma mental health intervention for family caregivers in low-income settings. The intervention was structured into five sessions delivered over three days. Caregivers attended all the sessions at a centralised community venue. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were held separately with caregivers (n = 10) and their service users (n = 9) eight weeks post-intervention. Interviews were translated verbatim from local languages to English prior to framework analysis.
Results: Post-intervention, service users reported improved family relations and understanding of mental illness among family members. The intervention was reported as acceptable and helpful by caregivers as it increased knowledge, fostering better relationships with service users. Group discussions were noted as a critical driver of intervention success. Widespread mental health stigma within communities remained a key concern for caregivers and service users.
Conclusion: With the government’s drive for deinstitutionalisation, the need to integrate antistigma interventions within community mental health services is vital, as is the need for population-wide anti-stigma interventions to support the integration of mental health service users within communities.