Service users' experience of receiving bad news about their mental health

Gallagher, Ann, Arber, Anne, Chaplin, Rob and Quirk, Alan (2010) Service users' experience of receiving bad news about their mental health. Journal of Mental Health, 19(1), pp. 34-42. ISSN (print) 0963-8237

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BACKGROUND: The breaking and receipt of bad news is little referred to in the mental health literature, particularly from a service user perspective. AIMS: This project aimed to gain understanding of service users' experiences of receiving good and bad news from mental health professionals. METHOD: Ten semi-structured interviews were conducted in which mental health service users recounted key moments when good or bad news was delivered to them and described the impact of that news on their psychological well being. Transcripts were analysed thematically. RESULTS: The receiving of a diagnosis could be perceived as bad news or a cause of confusion where a diagnosis is changed. The importance of trust in professionals, the use of adequate time and information was considered important in buffering the impact of potentially bad news. The technique of comparing a mental disorder to a physical disorder is not always helpful. CONCLUSIONS: The delivery of bad news in mental health is more complex than a "good or bad news" paradigm and it should be done in the context of a good therapeutic alliance. An individualized approach to delivering news about diagnosis is advocated.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This work was supported by the Nuffield Foundation.
Research Area: Psychiatry, neuroscience and clinical psychology
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences (until 2013)
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Depositing User: Automatic Import Agent
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2010 07:30
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2010 07:30

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