Methley, A, Campbell, S, Cheraghi-Sohi, S and Chew-Graham, CA (2016) Meeting the mental health needs of people with multiple sclerosis: a qualitative study of patients and professionals. Disability and Rehabilitation, 39 (11). pp. 1097-1105. ISSN 1464-5165

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Purpose: To explore perspectives and experiences of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and health care professionals of mental health support for MS in the UK.

Method: 24 people with MS, 13 practice nurses, 12 general practitioners (GPs) and 9 MS specialist nurses were recruited through community groups and primary care practices across North West England. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, and data analyzed thematically using constant comparative analysis within and across the data sets. The theoretical framework of candidacy was used to interrogate data.

Results: Four themes were identified: candidates for care, management choices, defining roles, and permeability and responsiveness.

Discussion: Candidacy for care, and symptom management, depended on the framing of symptoms through a social or medical model of depression. Normalizing symptoms could prevent help-seeking by patients. Reported referral behavior varied by professional group, based on perceived remit, competency and training needs. GPs were perceived by patients and other professionals as central for management of mental health needs in MS, but may not perceive this role themselves, suggesting a need for increased knowledge, training, and improved access to specialist care.

Implications for Rehabilitation
Anxiety and depression are common in people with MS.

Management of mental health needs in people with MS relies on complex decisions made by both people with MS and health care professionals.

General practitioners may play a key role in the ongoing management of mental health needs of people with MS.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Taylor & Francis at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: health professionals, mental health, multiple sclerosis, patient experiences, qualitative, staff perspectives
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Primary Care Health Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2016 08:22
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2018 13:19

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