A Matter of Trust

Parents’ Attitudes Toward Child Mental Health Information Sources


  • Rebecca Bonanno SUNY Empire State College
  • Kristina Veselak Gateway Community College




mental health literacy, child mental health, stigma, trust


Mental health problems among children and adolescents are widespread. Parents seeking information about child mental health problems and treatments face numerous barriers, including fear of stigmatization and uncertainty about where to seek help. In this qualitative study, seven parents whose children had experienced a mental health, behavioral, or emotional problem were interviewed about their attitudes and beliefs about child mental health information sources. Analysis revealed that the concept of trust was an overarching theme in parents’ pursuit and evaluation of information. Related themes included a preference for information from other parents with experience parenting a child with a mental health problem; seeking information from knowledgeable professionals with whom the parents had personal relationships; concerns about confidentiality and protection of privacy; and involvement of school personnel when seeking mental health information and help. Findings support the need for improved mental health literacy among parents and suggest that social workers should play a more active role in educating families and service providers about child mental health.


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