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The Use of Mumsnet by Parents of Young People With Mental Health Needs: Qualitative Investigation

Croucher, L; Mertan, E; Shafran, R; Bennett, SD; (2020) The Use of Mumsnet by Parents of Young People With Mental Health Needs: Qualitative Investigation. JMIR Mental Health , 7 (9) , Article e18271. 10.2196/18271. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: There are high rates of mental health needs in children in the United Kingdom, and parents are increasingly seeking help for their children's needs. However, there is not enough access to child and adolescent mental health services and parents are seeking alternative forms of support and information, often from web-based sources. Mumsnet is the largest web-based parenting forum in the United Kingdom, which includes user-created discussions regarding child mental health. OBJECTIVE: This qualitative investigation aimed to explore the emergent themes within the narratives of posts regarding child mental health on Mumsnet and to extrapolate these themes to understand the purpose of Mumsnet for parents of children and young people with mental health needs. METHODS: A total of 50 threads from Mumsnet Talk Child Mental Health were extracted. Following the application of inclusion and exclusion criteria, 41 threads were analyzed thematically using the framework approach, a form of qualitative thematic analysis. RESULTS: In total, 28 themes were extracted and organized into 3 domains. These domains were emotional support, emotional expression, and advice and information. The results suggested that parents of children with mental health needs predominantly use Mumsnet to offer and receive emotional support and to suggest general advice, techniques, and resources that could be applied outside of help from professional services. CONCLUSIONS: This paper discusses the future of health information seeking. Future research is required to establish initiatives in which web-based peer-to-peer support and information can supplement professional services to provide optimum support for parents of children with mental health needs.

Type: Article
Title: The Use of Mumsnet by Parents of Young People With Mental Health Needs: Qualitative Investigation
Location: Canada
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.2196/18271
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.2196/18271
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: evidence-based medicine, internet, mental health, parenting
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10109519
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