Mental health and parenting in rural areas: an exploration of parental experiences and current needs

Gwendolyn Erin Cremers, Nicola Ann Cogan, Iseult Twamley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Research on parental mental health problems (MHPs) has predominantly used urban samples and focused on the risks for children. AIMS: The purpose of this study was to explore rural parents' lived experiences of parenting with a MHP. METHOD: Six semi-structured interviews were conducted with mothers who were using a mental health service in rural Ireland. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) was employed. RESULTS: Themes identified were: "Being Observed and Negatively Judged by Others"; "Overshadowed by the Duality of Parenting and MHPs"; "Dominance of Medication Over Other Treatment Options"; "Uncertainty (of Impact on Parenting Ability and Children)" and "Need for Inclusion". Although parents' experienced a variety of concerns generic to parenting and mental health, living in a small, rural community was related to pronounced concerns regarding the stigma, devaluation and uncertainty associated with MHPs and service use. CONCLUSION: Further investigation into and consideration for the specific needs and experiences of parent service-users could benefit both parents and their families and inform service development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-104
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number2
Early online date3 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2014


  • female
  • humans
  • mental health
  • mental health services
  • parenting
  • rural health
  • rural population


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