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Psychiatr Serv. 2012 Jun;63(6):616-8. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201000343.

Care seeking and beliefs about the cause of mental illness among Nigerian psychiatric patients and their families.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Bayero University, P.M.B. 3011, Kano 234, Nigeria. drchikan@yahoo.co.uk

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study examined treatment seeking by 219 psychiatric patients at a teaching hospital in Kano, Nigeria.

METHODS:

Patients or their families were interviewed about the types of mental health healers that patients saw before seeking conventional psychiatric treatment and beliefs about the causes of the illness.

RESULTS:

The length of illness before the psychiatric consultation was 4.5 years, and 99 (45%) respondents reported that patients had previously sought religious healing. A majority of respondents (N=128, 59%) attributed the illness to supernatural forces. Up to 68% and 75% of respondents who believed in a medical or genetic cause of illness, respectively, reported seeking a psychiatric consultation within six months of onset, and about 70% who believed in supernatural forces reported seeking psychiatric consultation five years after onset or later (p<.05).

CONCLUSIONS:

Mental health planners should educate alternative mental health healers and integrate them in the care of mental illness.

PMID:
22638008
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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