Effectiveness of Nurse-Provided Social Support versus Social Support for Parents of Children with Mental Illness

Effectiveness of Nurse-Provided Social Support versus Social Support for Parents of Children with Mental Illness

According to the National Mental Health Association and the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, mothers who care for children with mental illnesses find it complicated to meet their mental health needs while also meeting their children’s mental health needs (NORD, 2021).

According to England et al. (2022), parents of youngsters with mental problems were twice as likely as parents of healthy children to be depressed. The parents identified aspects that contributed to their psychological circumstance as a lack of assistance from all relevant agencies, insufficient knowledge regarding handling their children’s conduct patterns at home, being blamed for their children’s psychological difficulties by practitioners, being exempted from the therapeutic team, and family alienation due to the stigmatization associated with mental illness (England et al., 2022).

These characteristics stated by the parents only compounded the difficulties that mothers encounter daily when managing the youngsters, such as aggressive behavior, suicide attempts or actions, and other undesirable alterations in their child. Parents must also deal with the difficulties of speaking about their child’s inappropriate behavior with relatives, instructors, and the community.

Positive affect between individuals, affirmations, offering direction, information, help, and encouragement are all aspects of social support. In a study by Bauer et al. (2021), parents’ social network is generally the source of social support. Members of the network offer emotional support, physical assistance, or knowledge.

Sharing knowledge or assisting someone in learning to get essential information is informational assistance required by the mothers. Material help involves offering assistance monetarily or physically. Listening, providing compassion, or being accessible are examples of emotional support. Giving comments, affirmations, or praise was an example of appraisal assistance.

Bauer et al. (2021) investigated the influence of social support networks on health and wellbeing and concluded that an individual’s satisfaction with social contact was substantially related to psychological and physical health. Regarding the health outcomes of children suffering from mental illness, the quality of social support is more important than the quantity.

The study by Bauer et al. (2021) further revealed that high-quality social support may significantly influence both mother and child’s emotional and physical health. While social support may be insufficiently provided or the timing of social help may be problematic, the bulk of published research has demonstrated the importance of social support as a favorable intermediary component in the stress-coping cycle (Bauer et al., 2021). Social support can be obtained from a family member, social worker, or friends in person, via phone, or over the Internet.

Nurses have a subjective definition of family, gender roles, and the reality of being a parent. According to Leonard et al. (2020), nurses see moms as the primary carers for their children. They saw fathers’ demands as secondary. Additionally, some nurses do not perceive providing assistance to parents or mothers as part of their job. The subjective experience of being a parent influences how nurses view and deal with parents of children with mental illnesses.

Nurses should not presume that personal experiences with mental illness immediately lead to improved assistance for parents with mentally ill children and their families (Leonard et al., 2020). According to Leonard et al. (2020), most parents characterized nurses’ personal experiences as solely benefiting children with mental illnesses rather than also benefiting mothers.

The nurses’ perspectives and attitudes are inextricably linked to their function and practices of caring for patients with mental illnesses and their families. Nurses’ perspectives impact their function, and the deficiencies and strengths in nursing practices influence their perceptions and attitudes toward these patients (Vives-Espelta et al., 2022). As a result, concerns identified may operate as facilitators or barriers to supporting parental role, proving that social support is more effective than a nurse’s support.


Bauer, A., Stevens, M., Purtscheller, D., Knapp, M., Fonagy, P., Evans-Lacko, S., & Paul, J. (2021). Mobilizing social support to improve mental health for children and adolescents: a systematic review using principles of realist synthesis. PloS One16(5), e0251750. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0251750

England, M. J., Sim, L. J., National Research Council (US) and Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Depression, Parenting Practices, and the Healthy Development of Children, England, M. J., & Sim, L. J. (2022). Associations between depression in parents and parenting, child health, and child psychological functioning. National Academies Press. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK215128/

Leonard, R., Linden, M., & Grant, A. (2020). Predictors of family focused practice among health visitors: a mixed methods study. Journal of Advanced Nursing76(5), 1255–1265. https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.14310

NORD. (2021). National federation of families for children’s mental health – NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders). NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders); NORD – National Organization for Rare Disorders. Accessed June 28th 2022 from https://rarediseases.org/organizations/national-federation-of-families-for-childrens-mental-health/

Vives-Espelta, J., Burjalés-Martí, M.-D., & Ferré-Grau, C. (2022). Nurses’ views and practices on parental mental illness: an integrative review. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing31(1), 8–24. https://doi.org/10.1111/inm.12937

Effectiveness of Nurse-Provided Social Support versus Social Support for Parents of Children with Mental Illness Instructions

nurses and professionals are the most influential people to offer social support because they have the know-how and experience. The nurses should not only focus on the children with chronic mental illnesses but also on the parents to assist them in overcoming stress and depression. Social support through close relationships would seem ineffective because the close friends and family could not provide the necessary information, appraisal, or emotional support.