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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Service user engagement in mental health policy : a qualitative descriptive study among adults aged 50 years and over Rai, Ashmita


Introduction: Service-user engagement is an important aspect of mental health policy. Although various mental health organizations support the engagement of adults aged 50 years and over in policy, evidence of its implementation is rarely seen in practice. This study sought to answer the research question: What are the experiences of mental health service-users aged 50 years and over in policy development, implementation, and evaluation in British Columbia? Methods: Qualitative descriptive methodology was used to gain rich descriptions through interviews. Purposive sampling with maximum variation was used to recruit participants including patients, family members, and caregivers. Thematic analysis was conducted to identify the major themes. Results: The results of this study showed that most participants were never asked for their input in improving mental health services both at individual/clinical and policy levels. The importance of service-user engagement and how service-users wanted to be engaged in mental health policy were highlighted. Barriers and facilitators to engagement such as lack of opportunities, adequate information and training, change in policy, bureaucracy, and tokenism were also identified. The findings are a critical step towards enhancing service-user engagement in mental health policy and improving mental health services such that they are reflective of co-creation with diverse populations. Keywords: service user, mental health policy, engagement

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