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Title: Help-seeking in the event of psychological distress : a qualitative exploration
Author: Brown, Susan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2746 2299
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2013
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Aim This thesis explores the seeking of help from a General Practitioner in the event of psychological distress. The study explores help-seeking, lay understanding around mental health, and the relationship between the two. Background Help-seeking has been shown to vary according to different demographic factors, and is not necessarily correlated with need. Frequently, those who need help most do not seek it, whilst those with low need are more likely to enter care; help-seeking is complex, and there is value in understanding more about current patterns. Lay knowledge is perceived as playing a crucial role in help-seeking, providing rationale for examining the two alongside each other. Method Qualitative interviews were used to explore the stories of people who have recently sought help, alongside interviews from a group of ‘lay’ participants who discuss distress, help-seeking and mental health more generally. 20 interviews were carried out, analysed using a combination of thematic analysis and the process of analytic induction. Findings The thesis sheds light on the limited role of lay knowledge; its role is most evident when considering hypothetical help-seeking. For recent help-seekers, journeys towards care were mediated by factors pertaining to their wider lives; help-seeking was intimately related to their context. Help-seeking is the outcome of a complex interplay of factors and the study sheds light on aspects of individuals’ stories that render distress more or less likely to enter Primary Care. The process of medicalisation is illuminated, for example, individuals receiving care for physical health problems are particularly prone to their distress being medicalised. Findings lend support to a contextually-rooted approach to understanding help-seeking. Expectations of – and preferences for – care are explored, evidencing a need for General Practitioners to consider referral to self-help and/or support groups within the community; individuals may not necessarily be seeking a medicalised response.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RA 421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine ; HM Sociology