The Experiences of Adult-Children from an Indian Heritage whose Parents have Lived with Mental Health Difficulties
Research suggests that in the United Kingdom (UK), there are over two million children living with a parent experiencing mental health difficulties (MHD). There is a growing body of literature focusing on the experiences and impact on these children, finding that the majority can often experience troubling emotions, and psycho-social difficulties which go unnoticed by health and social care services, leading to difficulties remaining with individuals into adulthood. To date, studies have neglected to explore the impact culture can have on family members, and therefore the aim of this study was to gain a richer understanding of the lived experiences from adult-children identifying as being from an Indian heritage, and who have grown up around parental MHD. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven individuals (four females, and three males) living in the UK, aged 34 to 54 years old, who had grown up with a parent with MHD. Transcripts were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis where five master themes were co-constructed describing participants’ experiences; ‘Making sense with a lack of knowledge’, ‘Managing stigmatised silence’, ‘Recognising the internal and external void’, ‘Feeling distant yet accountable’, and ‘Gaining positives from parental mental health difficulties’. The data is discussed in consideration of theory and literature, finding similarities with existing research, and also factors unique to this population. Given the findings from this study, clinical implications are explored, notably, emphasising the need for a whole family approach to interventions, and for services to be more culturally sensitive and relevant to the needs of populations underrepresented in service utilisation. Suggestions for further research are made, in a hope to add to the paucity of literature in the field of parental mental health and culture, and create change.
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