Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. Diane Dirette

Second Advisor

Dr. Ben Atchison

Third Advisor

Jaclyn West-Frasier

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This pilot study was intended to explore caregivers' perceptions of the mental health services available in the community for children with mental health diagnoses. A study-specific survey was developed to look at demographic characteristics, service accessibility, and service quality. This survey was distributed to caregivers through Michigan support groups. Returned surveys were analyzed for themes that could assist in the development of further research to improve community services for children with mental health diagnoses.

This pilot study yielded rich qualitative data. Upon review and analysis, five themes emerged: (1) bureaucratic hassles and getting the runaround, (2) closed doors, (3) support networks, (4) workers' aptitudes and ineptitudes, and (5) therapeutic relationships. These themes offer initial insight into how services can be developed to better meet needs within the community. Additionally, this study illuminated the valuable information provided by caregivers and the need for further exploration of such perceptions for the improvement of service quality and accessibility.