How do Parents within the Orthodox Jewish Community Experience Accessing a Community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service?
Topics: Main Topic: Other, Haredi / Strictly Orthodox Jews, Health, Family and Household, Parenthood, Mental Health, Interviews
Abstract: Previous research suggests that children of minority groups may be underserved by mainstream services (Elster, Jarosik, VanGeest & Fleming, 2003). There has been an identified need for research that focuses on barriers to accessing services faced by minority groups, such as the Orthodox Jewish community (Dogra, Singh, Svirdzenka & Vostansis, 2012). Given that parents are often the gate-keepers to care (Stiffman, Pescosolido & Cabassa, 2004), understanding their help-seeking behaviour is crucial to ensure that Orthodox children and families are given the same opportunities to access services as their majority group peers. To date there is extremely limited research on the help-seeking behaviours of Orthodox Jewish parents. The current study sought to consider the experiences of Orthodox Jewish parents who have accessed Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in order to seek help for their families. Semi-structured interviews were completed with nine Orthodox Jewish parents with regards to their experiences of accessing tier 2 CAMHS for their child. A thematic analysis was conducted. Four themes were found: ‘The Orthodox community as unique’, ‘Pathways to help’, ‘Attitudes towards mental health’ and ‘The parental journey’. Participants described a number of significant cultural barriers to seeking help. Stigma was identified as occurring in relation to mental health and also in relation to the process of help-seeking, as suggested by previous research within adult Orthodox populations (Feinberg & Feinberg, 1985). These stigmas relate to concerns regarding labelling and future matchmaking for the child and their siblings. Parents experience emotional and practical strains in parenting a child with mental health difficulties and in accessing psychological support for their children. The implications for service level change and clinical practice are considered.