Who should be responsible for supporting individuals with mental health problems? A critical literature review – 2018-01-12

Individuals with mental health problems have many support needs that are often inadequately met; however, perceptions of who should be responsible for meeting these needs have been largely unexplored. Varying perceptions may influence whether, how, and to what extent relevant stakeholders support individuals with mental health problems.

To critically evaluate the literature to determine who different stakeholders believe should be responsible for supporting individuals with mental health problems, what factors shape these perceptions, and how they relate to one another.

A critical literature review was undertaken. Following an extensive literature search, the conceptual contributions of relevant works were critically evaluated. A concept map was created to build a conceptual framework of the topic.

Views of individual versus societal responsibility for need provision and health; the morality of caring; and attributions of responsibility for mental illness offered valuable understandings of the review questions. Creating a concept map revealed that various interrelated factors may influence perceptions of responsibility.

Varying perceptions of who should be responsible for supporting individuals with mental health problems may contribute to unmet support needs among this group. Our critical review helps build a much-needed conceptual framework of factors influencing perceptions of responsibility. Such a framework is essential as these views iteratively shape and reflect the complex divisions of mental healthcare roles and responsibilities. Understanding these perceptions can help define relevant stakeholders’ roles more clearly, which can improve mental health services and strengthen stakeholder accountability.

Megan A Pope, Ashok K Malla, Srividya N Iyer
International Journal of Social Psychiatry, January 12, 2018