Mastering the Art of Collaboration: Supporting Family Caregivers of Mental Health Patients by Service Providers in Iran

  • Mohammad Akbari
  • Mousa AlaviEmail author
  • Jahangir Maghsoudi
  • Alireza Irajpour
  • Violeta Lopez
  • Michelle Cleary
Original Article


Responsive support systems, designed and promoted by policy makers, are critical in supporting family caregivers. The purpose of this study was to explore viewpoints of service providers in supporting family caregivers of mental health patients in Iran. In this qualitative study, a purposive sample of 29 service providers and policy makers consented to participate in semi-structured interviews. Data were analyzed through qualitative content analysis and three main categories and seven sub-categories were identified. The main categories were: interpersonal collaboration, intra-organization collaboration and inter-sectorial collaboration. A common theme in this study was that service providers play a key role in coordinating responsive support services for Iranian family caregivers of mental health patients across all levels. The increasing complexity of the health care system and resource limitations have created complex problems, which require the use of participatory approaches by the various specialties, disciplines and departments to provide complementary services and mutual support. This approach is the best way of ensuring that service users receive the most relevant services from the right service providers in the right place as and when needed.


Responsive support system Family caregivers Mental health disorders Qualitative Iran 



This study is derived from a Ph.D. thesis of Nursing sponsored by the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences. The authors are thankful to the Vice Chancellor and participants. We also thank Dr. Sancia West for her review of this article.

Author Contributions

All authors have agreed on the final version and meet at least one of the following criteria recommended by the ICMJE (


This work was supported by the Nursing and Midwifery Care Research Center, Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Iran.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Student Research Center, Faculty of Nursing and MidwiferyIsfahan University of Medical SciencesIsfahanIran
  2. 2.Nursing and Midwifery Care Research Center, Faculty of Nursing and MidwiferyIsfahan University of Medical SciencesIsfahanIran
  3. 3.Nursing & Midwifery Care Research Center, Mental Health Nursing Department, Faculty of Nursing & MidwiferyIsfahan University of Medical SciencesIsfahanIran
  4. 4.Nursing & Midwifery Care Research Center, Critical Care Nursing Department, Faculty of Nursing & MidwiferyIsfahan University of Medical SciencesIsfahanIran
  5. 5.Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, Yong Loo Lin School of MedicineNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  6. 6.School of Health SciencesUniversity of TasmaniaSydneyAustralia

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