Service user and family member perspectives on services for mental health, substance use/addiction, and violence: A qualitative study of their goals, experiences and recommendations
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© 2016 Haskell et al. Background: Mental health and substance use disorders (MSD) are significant public health concerns that often co-occur with violence. To improve services that address MSD and violence [MSD(V)], it is critical to understand the perspectives of those most affected, people who have sought help for MSD(V) (i.e., "service users"), especially those with co-occurring issues, as well as their family members. Methods: We conducted structured interviews with 73 service users and 41 family members of service users in two Ontario communities (one urban, one rural) regarding their goals related to help-seeking, positive and negative experiences, and recommendations for improving systems of care. Results: Overall, participants expressed a need for services that: (1) are respectful, nonjudgmental, and supportive, help service users to feel more 'normal' and include education to reduce stigma; (2) are accessible, varied and publicly funded, thereby meeting individual needs and addressing equity concerns at a systems level; and (3) are coordinated, holistic and inclusive of family members who often support service users. Conclusions: The findings provide a rich understanding of how service users and their families perceive services for MSD(V) issues and identify key ways to better meet their needs.
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