Improvements to mental health services for parents who lost a child to cancer are needed
the ONA take:
Parents of children with cancer appear to need, want, and often access bereavement mental health services after the death of their child, according to a cross-sectional study of 120 parents bereaved by cancer.
In this study, parents completed self-report assessments by phone, in person, or on their own. The parents were at 6 months to 6 years after their loss.
The study results showed 41% of bereaved parents were currently using mental health services. Talk therapy was the most commonly used service; however, 36% of parents who discontinued it reported that it was not helping.
Current use of these services was associated with more recent loss, prior mental health service use, subclinical/increased depression, insecure attachment styles, and a decreased sense of meaning.
Barriers to service use were also identified. Parents reported it was too painful to speak about their loss (64%) and too difficult to find help (60%). Minority parents were more likely to have unmet needs.
The researchers conclude that these services are needed and wanted by parents. But barriers to service use must be addressed.
In addition, high treatment dropout rates suggest the importance of developing effective grief interventions and training providers.
Parents of children with cancer appear to need, want, and often access bereavement mental health services after the death of their child.
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