'It broke our hearts'. Understanding parents' lived experiences of their child's admission to an acute mental health care facility Academic Article uri icon


  • This article reports the evaluative findings of an Early Psychosis Education Program (EPEP) designed to support parents caring for their child who was recently admitted to the psychiatric intensive care unit of an inpatient mental health care facility in Australia. The EPEP offered education on mental illness, treatment options, and medication, as well as information on the recovery model of care. The EPEP was facilitated by two RNs and was evaluated for educational effectiveness using a simple pre- and postevaluation questionnaire. The evaluation revealed two themes expressed by parents: "We didn't see it coming," and "Hopelessness and helplessness." The themes highlighted the parents' lack of mental health care knowledge prior to the EPEP, which had a significant impact on the parents' experiences and well-being. The evaluative findings highlighted a need for a nurse-led EPEP within the community. A community EPEP has the potential to strengthen the partnership between parents, families, and mental health service providers and to help with the provision of a recovery framework of care.

publication date

  • 2014