The following article is a part of conference coverage from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) 34th Annual Conference, held online from September 30 to October 4, 2020. The team at the Clinical Advisor will be reporting on the latest news and research conducted by leading nurses in psychiatry. Check back for more from APNA 2020.
Although more rigorous studies are needed on the benefits of internet-based support groups for caregivers of teens with mental health disorders, the available literature does suggest benefits of these types of programs, according to study results presented at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) 34th Annual Conference held online from September 30th to October 4th, 2020.
Caregivers of teens with mental health disorders tend to experience higher levels of psychological distress and burden, which may have a significant effect on the treatment outcomes of their teens’ mental health. Online peer-support groups and internet-based interventions can provide caregivers with support and advice, and these platforms are convenient, easy to use, and cost-effective. The objective of this study was to review existing literature on mobile and online applications that support caregivers of teens with mental health disorders.
A research team led by Hua Li, RN, PhD, identified and screened 9452 records that met search criteria relevant to internet-based support programs for caregivers of teens with mental health disorders. Researchers then performed data analysis on 5 applicable studies.
Results revealed that online- and mobile-based support for caregivers of teens with mental health disorders were effective at offering useful advice and reducing caregivers’ stress, distress, and burden related to their roles. However, only limited research has been published on internet-based support for caregivers of teens with mental health disorders.
This study had several limitations. First, the overall number of studies reviewed was relatively small. Second, most of the studies had a small sample size and no control groups. Last, each of the internet-based programs reviewed varied significantly in usage, which complicated comparisons between programs.
Although the study had limitations, the implications for psychiatric mental health nurses (PMHNs) is that providers can offer these resources to caregivers of teens with mental health issues. PMHNs should become advocates for these caregivers in terms of developing and accessing resources, particularly these available technologies.
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Li H, Liu LS, Kennedy M. Online-based or mobile application support for caregivers of adolescence with mental health disorders: A systematic review. Presented at: APNA 34th Annual Conference; September 30-October 4, 2020. Poster 150.