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Research Snapshot: Parents’ seeking help for their children with mental health issues face complex process

January 25, 2013

Many children with mental health problems don’t actually receive the care they need. The issues their parents face when looking for help from the mental health system may have something to do with this. When people seek help for themselves they usually follow a linear, four-step process; however the experiences of parents trying to seek help for their children might not be so straight-forward.

Ontario researchers interviewed 300 parents who had contacted one of 15 children’s mental health agencies in Ontario looking for help for their four to 17 year old child. The researchers found that the process parents went through when looking for help for their child’s mental health issues was much more complex than originally believed. Families had contacted an average of four different service providers and almost 20 per cent had been in the mental health system for more than a year.

To learn more, check out EENet’s Research Snapshot of the article, “Help-Seeking for Children with Mental Health Problems: Parents’ Efforts and Experiences” by Graham J. Reid, Charles E. Cunningham, Juliana I. Tobon, Barrie Evans, Moira Stewart, Judith B. Brown, Barbara Lent, Richard W. J. Neufeld, Evelyn R. Vingilis, Gregory S. Zaric, and Dianne C. Shanley. It appeared in Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, vol. 38, no. 5 (2011): 384-97.

The Snapshot is available here.

Research Snapshots are brief, clear language summaries of research, presented in a user-friendly format. To read EENet’s clear language summary of this research, and others, visit

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