The experiences of mental health services for ‘black’ men with schizophrenia and a history of disengagement: a qualitative study

Christopher Wagstaff, Hermine Graham, Derek Farell, Michael Larkin, Mary Nettle

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Whilst mental disorders can be disabling they are also treatable, yet engagement with services is often poor and disengagement from treatment is a major concern for mental health nurses. Participants were service users typically perceived as the most disengaged from mental health services, yet they were willing to engage in the research interviews.
The 7 participants were all male with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, a history of disengagement from mental health services and described their ethnicity as ‘black’. Participants were under the care of Assertive Outreach Teams and were recruited after the researcher was introduced to them by clinicians who were working with them. After ethical approval, in-depth, semi-structured interviews were used to elicit the experiences of participants. Through interpretative phenomenological analysis, themes were developed.
Interpretative Phenomenological analysis generated four themes: (1) “People just keep hounding me”, (2) Antipathy to Medication, (3) Choice and the value of services, (4) Stigmatisation and identity.
By rigorously examining how service users with schizophrenia make sense of their experience of their relationship with mental health services, there is potential to give voice to the experiences of the recipients of mental health services. This study uncovered the complex nature of disengagement and in view of this there may never be a straightforward mechanism developed to engage all people with schizophrenia with mental health services. When the participants’ experiences are considered in a broader social context it may be possible to reflect on how services can be adapted to facilitate better engagement.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Early online date26 Dec 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Dec 2016


  • disengagement
  • ethnicity
  • interpretative
  • mental health services
  • phenomenological analysis
  • qualitaive
  • schizophrenia
  • service user


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