Marija Šiaučiūnaitė1, Neringa Čėnaitė1, Laurynas Bukelskis2,3
1Vilnius University Medical Faculty, Vilnius, Lithuania
2Vilnius University Medical Faculty Psychiatric Clinic, Vilnius, Lithuania
3Vilnius Mental Health Center, Vilnius, Lithuania
Aim: The aim of the research was to investigate stigmatizing experiences and requests for interventions in Lithuanian Health and Social system by interviewing relatives of people with schizophrenia.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were held with 20 relatives of people diagnosed with schizophrenia at the Department for Acute Disorders located at Vilnius City Mental Health Center. Personal experiences facing mental health system and expectations for interventions to facilitate private and public life of the family members. Experiences of siblings, parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren of people living with schizophrenia were explored. Thematic analysis of interviews was used.
Results: Relatives of people with schizophrenia had diverse experience, they mostly feel abandonment, frustration, confusion, loneliness or even depressed. Participants of the study highlighted the importance and necessity of interventions for people with schizophrenia, such as mental health day centers, home visiting volunteers, social skills trainings for patients (personal care, cooking, laundry, paying bills), long-term special care facilities. Psychological support for relatives and children of schizophrenia patients was highlighted as high of importance. Relatives of elderly patients stressed out positive changes in Lithuania’s mental health system after the Restoration of Independence of the country. However, legal system was still considered too complicated and problematic.
Conclusions: In order to increase the quality of life for people whose relatives are diagnosed with schizophrenia, it is important to provide a better access to community care, family support services and other health and social facilities. The most important thing is to ensure the possibility of an independent living for people diagnosed with schizophrenia. Further details and recommendations of how to improve life quality of people whose relatives are diagnosed with schizophrenia will be presented.