COVID-19 experience of people with severe mental health conditions and families in South Africa

South African Journal of Psychiatry

Field Value
Title COVID-19 experience of people with severe mental health conditions and families in South Africa
Creator Brooke-Sumner, Carrie Rapiya, Bongwekazi Myers, Bronwyn Petersen, Inge Hanlon, Charlotte Repper, Julie Asher, Laura
Subject — COVID-19; family caregivers; lived experience; lockdown; schizophrenia; South Africa; severe mental health condition; psychosis
Description Background: People with severe mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, and their family caregivers are underserved in low- and middle-income countries where structured psychosocial support in the community is often lacking. This can present challenges to recovery and for coping with additional strains, such as a pandemic.Aim: This study explored the experiences and coping strategies of people with lived experience of a severe mental health condition, and family caregivers, in South Africa during the initial stages of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.Setting: This qualitative study was conducted in the Nelson Mandela Bay District, Eastern Cape, South Africa, in the most restrictive period of the COVID-19 lockdown.Methods: Telephonic qualitative interviews were conducted with people with lived experience (n = 14) and caregivers (n = 15). Audio recordings were transcribed and translated to English from isiXhosa. Thematic analysis was conducted with NVivo 12.Results: Participants described negative impacts including increased material hardship, intensified social isolation and heightened anxiety, particularly among caregivers who had multiple caregiving responsibilities. Coping strategies included finding ways to not only get support from others but also give support, engaging in productive activities and taking care of physical health. The main limitation was inclusion only of people with access to a telephone.Conclusion: Support needs for people with severe mental health conditions and their families should include opportunities for social interaction and sharing coping strategies as well as bolstering financial security.Contribution: These findings indicate that current support for this vulnerable group is inadequate, and resource allocation for implementation of additional community-based, recovery-focused services for families must be prioritised.
Publisher AOSIS
Contributor Newton Fund South African Medical Research Council
Date 2024-04-09
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion — —
Format text/html application/epub+zip text/xml application/pdf
Identifier 10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v30i0.2207
Source South African Journal of Psychiatry; Vol 30 (2024); 8 pages 2078-6786 1608-9685
Language eng
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Rights Copyright (c) 2024 Carrie Brooke-Sumner, Bongwekazi Rapiya, Bronwyn Myers, Inge Petersen, Charlotte Hanlon, Julie Repper, Laura Asher