Contexts precipitating help-seeking among partners of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder: A qualitative exploration.

Research has shown that the increased demands associated with the aftereffects of traumatic deployment experiences can have adverse effects on the mental health, well-being, and functioning of partners of veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although it is important that mental health systems are prepared to meet the needs of help-seeking partners, little is known about the help-seeking experiences of this population. The objective of this study was to explore the contexts within which partners recognize the desire or need to seek mental health services. A thematic analysis was performed on 16 semistructured interviews conducted with female partners of Canadian veterans with PTSD. Seven themes emerged across two categories. The contexts of life circumstances (roles, responsibilities, and demands) and precipitating events (experiences preceding help-seeking) shape partners’ definition of the problem and pathways to help-seeking. These findings provide important considerations for tailoring mental health services and interventions for not only partners but also PTSD-affected veteran families as a whole. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)