Psychiatr Serv. 1995 Aug; 46(8): 823-6.
Pathways to mental health care in Nigeria.
Department of Behavioral Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, Nigeria.
A total of 238 patients who attended a mental health service in Ilorin, Nigeria, over a one-month period were interviewed to assess the routes they took to psychiatric care. Ninety-five patients reported that they had first contacted traditional or religious healers when they became mentally ill. Patients who contacted such healers included significantly more males and Muslims and fewer patients with professional occupations. Family members played important roles in patients' decisions about the type of practitioner to consult. The author suggests that use of psychiatric care in developing countries could be improved by training primary health care workers to give mental health education to the communities they serve.