What Support do family Caregivers For Mental Health Care Users Receive From Healthcare Professionals And Family Members? A Qualitative Study

Nelson Raluthaga1, Hilda N. Shilubane1, *, Seani A. Mulondo1, Lunic B. Khoza2
1 Department of Advanced Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Science, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, 0950 South Africa
2 Department of Health Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

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© 2023 Raluthaga et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Advanced Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Science, University of Venda, Private Bag X 5050, Thohoyandou, 0950 South Africa; Tels: +27 82 536 7441, +27 15 962 8000; E-mail:



Due to the mental health reforms in developed countries, the focus of mental healthcare services has shifted from hospital-based to community-based care. This suggests that family members are expected to care for their Menal Health Care User (MHCUs). This study aimed to explore the support caregivers for MHCUs receive from healthcare professionals and other family members.


The participants were conveniently selected from the primary healthcare centres. Unstructured interviews were conducted with twelve family caregivers. Data were analyzed using Tesch’s open coding method. Ethical issues and trustworthiness were followed throughout the study.


The study revealed two themes, poor support from healthcare professionals and poor support from family members, and seven sub-themes.


There is a dearth of information about the support offered to family caregivers of MHCUs in the context of South Africa. Training programs for caregivers are recommended to improve psychological well-being and social support while decreasing the caregiver burden.

Keywords: Caregivers, Family members, Healthcare professionals, Mental healthcare users, Mental illness, Supportive role.