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At the edge of care: a systematic review


A systematic review of parent and practitioner experiences of support and interventions for parents with mental health needs and children’s social services involvement


The aim of this project was to develop our knowledge of experiences of support for families with mental health needs and children’s social services involvement. We know that these families often face multiple adversities, and we wanted to explore, from the perspectives of parents and practitioners, what helps and what the challenges are in meeting families’ needs in this context.


To do this, we conducted a systematic review of the available literature. Qualitative evidence was synthesised thematically to gain insights into what types of support and interventions are experienced as acceptable and beneficial, under what conditions, and for whom, and what the barriers are to engagement and to meeting needs. We also considered how terms like ‘support’ and ‘needs’ are framed and understood in the literature, recognising that these terms can be problematic and complex. We particularly wanted to understand how parenthood interacts with other aspects of identity such as race, deprivation, age or gender to affect experiences and/or to marginalise particular groups.

The review was guided by a project team with expertise in systematic reviews, survivor research, and intersectionality theory, and by a Lived Experience Advisory Group. Both groups shaped the review through meetings to guide key decisions. Data workshops helped us to consider data from differing intersectional standpoints, enriching our final understanding.

Project status: Completed
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Principal Investigators


Funding Body: Violence Abuse and Mental Health Network (VAMHN)

Amount: £31,155.85

Period: January 2022 - September 2022