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Ind Psychiatry J. 2018 Jul-Dec;27(2):279-284. doi: 10.4103/ipj.ipj_95_14.

The sociocultural factors and patterns of help-seeking among patients with mental illness in the sub-Himalayan region.

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Department of Psychiatry, GMERS Medical College, Patan, Gujarat, India.
Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Kota, Rajasthan, India.



Selection of first help in psychiatric illnesses depends on various sociodemographic and environmental factors. In integrated societies like India careers also contribute in deciding help-seeking behavior of psychiatric patients. In this study, we explored these factors and the role of education of decision maker, i.e., person who is final authority in deciding the course of management.


This study aims to study sociocultural factors and patterns of help-seeking behavior of psychiatric patients in rural sub-Himalayan region.

Settings and Design:

A cross-sectional study conducted in a tertiary care teaching hospital.

Subjects and Methods:

Factors affecting help-seeking behavior such as age, sex, education, occupation, income, accessibility to psychiatric treatment, expenses on faith healers and general practitioners, and education of "decision maker were assessed.

Statistical Analysis Used:

Data were analyzed with GraphPad InStat, using appropriate statistical tests.


In this study of 250 patients, psychiatrists were chosen as first help by 98 (39%), faith healers by 84 (34%), and general medical practitioners (GMPs) by 68 (27%) patients. Mean "years of education" of patients in psychiatrist group, faith healer group, and GMP group were 9.98, 8.81, and 7.99, respectively (P = 0.08). Mean "years of education" of decision makers for these groups were 11.64, 8.36, and 10.93, respectively (P < 0.001). Time required in reaching psychiatric facility form the residence of patient was maximum in those who consulted faith healers first compared to those who consulted psychiatrist (P < 0.001) or GMP (P < 0.01). Expenses on faith healers were significantly high compared to GMPs (P < 0.001).


Psychiatrists, faith healers, and GMPs were equally chosen as first help for psychiatric illness. Education of decision maker and accessibility affect help-seeking behavior significantly. Faith healers were more expensive than GMPs.


Decision maker; education; pathway; psychiatric illness

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