Mothers' experiences of mental health services following their children's self-harm

Rose, H; Cohen, Keren and Kinney, c. 2011. Mothers' experiences of mental health services following their children's self-harm. Family Science, 2(3), pp. 196-202. ISSN 1942-4620 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The aim of this study was to explore mothers' experiences of the mental health services with which they came into contact following their child's self-harm. A qualitative approach with an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was utilised to explore the accounts of five mothers of young people who had self-harmed and yielded three main themes: ‘The Unknown’, which reflected the mothers' contextual experience of an ominous sense of uncertainty about what is still to ‘come out;’ ‘shame and blame’, which led the mothers to feel exposed and vulnerable in front of mental health professionals; and ‘knowledge’, which appeared as a key influence on the mothers' relationships with services, where withholding or sharing of knowledge left mothers feeling either excluded and isolated, or included and empowered. The findings have implications for mental health professionals in the area, who support families through coping with a child's self-harming.

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Identification Number (DOI):


experiences, self-harm, mental health, services, parents, qualitative

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Social, Therapeutic & Community Engagement (STaCS) > Unit for Psychotherapeutic Studies



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Date Deposited:

02 Feb 2016 10:33

Last Modified:

10 Jul 2017 08:28

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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