ATTITUDES TOWARDS MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES VERSUS FAITH HEALING; ROLE OF STIGMA AND MENTAL HEALTH LITERACY
Objectives: To explore the attitudes of mentally ill patients towards help seeking behavior from psychiatrists/ psychologists as compared to alternate and faith healing practices and explore association of mental health literacy with stigmatizing of mental health ailments.
Study Design: A qualitative and cross sectional study.
Place and Duration of Study: Pakistan Kidney Individuals Association Rawalpindi, from Jun to Jul 2018.
Methodology: Total 15 adult males and females of age 18 years and above with the minimum qualification of intermediate were included in the study after informed consent. All were diagnosed with some psychiatric ailment. Data was collected through purposive sampling technique. An interview guide was developed after thorough literature review on the basis of which structured interviews were conducted. Content analysis was used to identified overarching themes, that were evident across groups, suggested the key concepts of several attitudes of people towards help seeking behavior.
Results: Mean age of the individuals was 27.4 ± 3.14 years. 86% individuals preferred psychotherapy, 7% assumed psychotropic medication as temporary relief, 93.3% has shown negative attitude toward faith health, 26.6% opted self-medication in initial phase, 73% preferred psychologist over psychiatrist. Lack of social support (66.6%) was most frequently reported as cause of mental illness. Whereas, most frequent stated indicator of mentally healthy individuals was being pleasant (93.3%); and indicator of mentally ill individuals was suicidal (80%). Moreover, mostly mentally ill individuals (93.3%) believed that sound physical health is a preventive measure for mental health. Whereas, mentally ill individuals associated social (73.3%) and personal stigmatizing (26.6%) with mental illnesses; and had inhibition in disclosure.
Conclusion: Individuals with mental health issues preferred psychotherapies over psychotropic medication in the treatment of psychiatric ailment. Unhappy childhood, adjustment issues among spouses and parents, and lack of social support plays a major role in the development of psychological ailments.