“We all have a responsibility”: a narrative discourse analysis of an information campaign targeting help-seeking in first episode psychosis
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background: Intervening at an early stage of psychosis improves the chances of recovery from first-episode psychosis. However, people who are experiencing distress and early psychotic symptoms generally seem to delay seeking help. Therefore, multifaced information campaigns targeting help-seeking behavior of potential patients and their network are considered important tools within early detection and intervention strategies. In this study, we aimed to explore which discursive meaning content, including roles and actors, such information campaigns build on and construct. Our intention was not to provide objective answers, but to contribute to a discursive debate about potential conflicts in messages conveyed in such campaigns. Methods: A broad sample of information material utilized by TIPS Stavanger University Hospital (Norway) was examined. The material consisted of posters, booklets and brochures, newspaper ads, Facebook ads, and TIPS Info’s website, representing various campaigns from 1996 to April 2018. A narrative discursive approach was applied at an epistemological level. At a practical level, a team-based thematic analysis was utilized to identify patterns across data. Results: Diversity and several changes in strategy were recognized throughout the information material. Furthermore, three main themes and four subthemes were found to constitute the meaning content built in the information campaigns: knowledge is key; (almost) an illness among illnesses; and we all have a responsibility (comprising of the subthemes; to respond quickly; to step in; to provide an answer; and to tag along). Conclusion: Our findings pointed to common dilemmas in mental health services: How to combine professional expert knowledge with collaborative practices that emphasize shared decision-making and active roles on behalf of patients? How to combine a focus on symptoms and illness and simultaneously express the importance of addressing patients’ recourses? And how can we ask for societal responsibility in help-seeking when professionals are placed in expert positions which may not be optimal for dialogue with potential patients or their network? We discuss whether highlighting practices with more weight on resources and active roles for patients and their surroundings in information campaigns could promote earlier help-seeking.