Author(s): Kabir M, Iliyasu Z, Abubakar IS, Aliyu MH
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Abstract BACKGROUND: This study was designed to examine the knowledge, attitude and beliefs about causes, manifestations and treatment of mental illness among adults in a rural community in northern Nigeria. METHODS: A cross sectional study design was used. A pre-tested, semi-structured questionnaire was administered to 250 adults residing in Karfi village, northern Nigeria. RESULTS: The most common symptoms proffered by respondents as manifestations of mental illness included aggression/destructiveness (22.0\%), loquaciousness (21.2\%), eccentric behavior (16.1\%) and wandering (13.3\%). Drug misuse including alcohol, cannabis, and other street drugs was identified in 34.3\% of the responses as a major cause of mental illness, followed by divine wrath/ God's will (19\%), and magic/spirit possession (18.0\%). About 46\% of respondents preferred orthodox medical care for the mentally sick while 34\% were more inclined to spiritual healing. Almost half of the respondents harbored negative feelings towards the mentally ill. Literate respondents were seven times more likely to exhibit positive feelings towards the mentally ill as compared to non-literate subjects (OR = 7.6, 95\% confidence interval = 3.8-15.1). CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates the need for community educational programs in Nigeria aimed at demystifying mental illness. A better understanding of mental disorders among the public would allay fear and mistrust about mentally ill persons in the community as well as lessen stigmatization towards such persons.
This article was published in BMC Int Health Hum Rights
and referenced in Journal of Depression and Anxiety