Help-seeking within mental health services for individuals with a history of chronic psychosis
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Background. Help-seeking is a concept of growing interest in the context of psychosis and the move towards early intervention and community-based service models. Despite a preponderance of first episode studies in this field, help-seeking is also of clinical relevance to adults with more chronic psychosis in the face of spiralling patterns of relapse and diminished recovery. Recent research into attachment theory opens up new avenues for exploring aspects of relating in psychosis, including help-seeking in mental health service contexts. Methods. A systematic review of attachment and psychosis was carried out to critically assess the strength and nature of empirical support for this theory within a clinical context. A social-constructivist based grounded theory study of help-seeking and chronic psychosis was conducted amongst nine individuals in a long term rehabilitation service. This aimed to develop an experiential account and grounded theory of the processes shaping help-seeking for this clinical group. Study findings were reviewed against existing constructs of attachment style, service attachment, recovery style and beliefs about psychosis. Results. A grounded theory emerged from the study emphasising the importance of three domains; ‘beliefs about the self’, ‘beliefs about others’ and ‘service experience’, in dynamically shaping views to help-seeking and receiving, for those with chronic psychosis. Attachment theory and recovery coping style were seen as compatible with this model. Conclusions. Individuals with chronic psychosis may continue to experience difficulties with help-seeking and service engagement, even within supported service settings. An appreciation of the interpersonal significance of service interactions, and improved understanding in this area, may help services better anticipate, respond to and adjust their models of engaging for this important clinical group.