UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Information exchange for interprofessional collaboration amongst mental health and wellness service providers for people age 50 and over in rural southern interior British Columbia Teagle, Verity Samantha


Mental illness has a significant impact on individuals, families, and society as a whole, both emotionally and economically. There are more adults in Canada age 65 and over than there are children under the age of 15, and there are significant levels of mental illness amongst this population of adults. Canadians living in rural areas have poorer determinants of health and it is thought that to meet the mental health needs of people aged 50 and over in rural communities, improved interprofessional collaboration between mental health and wellness service providers is needed. Using a mixed method approach that includes qualitative content analysis, thematic analysis, and social network analysis, this study describes how limited information exchange amongst mental health and wellness service providers reduces the quality of interprofessional collaboration and impacts service accessibility and delivery for community members. The ability of adults age 50+ in rural communities with mental health concerns to access services is impeded by poorly designed informational materials and systems; lack of social support; and stigma. For service providers, barriers to information exchange include: difficulties engaging key partners, in particular general physicians and wellness service providers; the lack of a platform for confidential information exchange between providers; lack of time or resources to spend on collaborative efforts, including the coordination of up-to-date organization and program information for both service providers and clients; and stigma. Social network analysis can identify key influencers in existing networks of service providers and can support or challenge service provider perceptions about which organizations are most active and central in the collaboration. It is hoped that elucidating the barriers to collaboration and providing recommendations for improved information exchange will contribute to a growing body of knowledge regarding what is needed for successful health service collaboration.

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