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  2. Evaluating the effectiveness of the Family Connections program for caregivers of youth with mental health challenges, part II: A qualitative analysis

Evaluating the effectiveness of the Family Connections program for caregivers of youth with mental health challenges, part II: A qualitative analysis

Background: The Family Connections™ (FC) program is a 12‐week support and skill‐training program for caregivers of youth with mental health challenges. The intervention was originally developed with a focus on borderline personality disorder (BPD). It is important to understand the experiences of caregivers in such interventions, as well as its applicability beyond BPD, for the purposes of evaluation and ongoing program improvement. Objective: To explore and analyse the experiences of caregivers of youth with diverse mental health challenges and who participated in FC. Design: Semi‐structured interviews with thirteen FC‐participating caregivers of youth with mental health challenges. Results: Thematic analysis uncovered three major themes regarding caregivers' experience with FC: (a) FC increased the caregivers' ability to manage their youth's mental health challenges; (b) participating in FC impacted their intra‐ and interpersonal spheres; and (c) improvements to the program were proposed. Following participation in FC, caregivers felt they learned a new approach to understanding themselves, their youth and mental health, and were better able to manage their youth's mental health challenges. Discussion and conclusion: FC is a promising intervention for caregivers of youth with mental health challenges, beyond the traditional BPD focus. The intervention has the potential to provide broad‐based benefits for caregivers and should be considered for implementation and scale‐up across youth‐ and caregiver‐serving organizations. Potential areas of intervention flexibility and improvement are discussed. Patient/public contribution: Caregivers were involved in the program development and facilitation of FC. A person with lived experience was involved with the analysis.

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Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
Type of Work
Journal article
Publisher
Wiley
ISBN/ISSN
1369-6513
Publication Year
2021
Issue Number
2
Journal Titles
Health Expectations
Volume Number
24
Start Page
709
End Page
718