Role of Social Networks in the help seeking experiences among Chinese suffering from severe mental illness in England: a qualitative study
Yeung , Echo
Tsang, Sandra K. M.
The onset of mental illness can have a significant impact on individuals' lives and on the people who they come into contact with in their social networks. This paper presents the findings of the exploratory stage of a larger study that aims to examine the role of social networks in the help-seeking process of Chinese people suffering from severe mental illness in England. The study used a qualitative phenomenological approach in which in-depth interviews were conducted with three Chinese people suffering from severe mental illness and four network ties who were involved in the help-seeking process. The results of the study showed that family may not be involved in every stage of help-seeking. The size of social networks of Chinese people suffering from mental illness became bigger and the composition of social networks became more diverse after their first contact with mental health services. The implications of the study encourage social workers and mental health professionals to explore resources in the wider social networks to ensure that Chinese people suffering from mental illness receive ad- equate support to meet their mental health needs.