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DEBATE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19-24

Research on family caregiving for mental illness in India and its impact on clinical practice: Are we doing enough to help families?


Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Subho Chakrabarti
Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Sector-12, Chandigarh - 160 012
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0971-9962.176762

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Families of Indian patients with mental illnesses have always been involved in their care. Such involvement arises both from choice as well as the compulsion of being a part of an inadequately resourced mental health system. Regardless, families have had to pay a heavy price for undertaking the task of providing care. An extensive body of Indian research on caregiver burden in a number of mental illnesses shows that providing care for a relative with mental illness is associated with considerable distress and burden for the family caregiver. However, much of this research has not made the shift from the somewhat outmoded concept of caregiver burden to the currently prevalent practice of considering the caregiving experience in its totality. Moreover, most of the research is not driven by contemporary theories of caregiving such as the stress coping model. Indian psychiatry has also had a long tradition of supporting family caregivers while they provide care for their ill members. Nevertheless, the Indian evidence for the efficacy of formal family-based interventions remains inadequate and lacks methodological precision. Finally, day-to-day practice in clinical settings does not seem to have made use of the ample body of research evidence in this area to help families in distress. Despite all these problems, progress is being made in the area of family caregiving for mental illness in India. Despite all these problems, slow but steady progress is being made in the area of family caregiving for mental illness in India. It can be hoped that some day in the near future, this progress would translate into mental health professionals forging a true partnership with families providing care for those with mental illnesses.


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