Perception and Beliefs about Mental Illness among Adults in Birnin Kudu Metropolis Jigawa State
Misconceptions about causes and symptoms of mental illnesses remain major concern in northern Nigeria, resulting in making inappropriate treatments option for mentally ill patients. The study is aimed to find out the adults‟ belief on the causes of mental illness, perception on the symptoms and preferred place for the treatment of mental illness in Birnin kudu metropolis Jigawa state. Cross-sectional descriptive study design was employed in this study, which involved a random sample of 384 adults, recruited from Birnin kudu metropolis. A multistage sampling technique was adopted. Data were obtained using structured interview guided questionnaire. These were organized and analysed with SPSS version 23. The findings of the study revealed that brain disease (16.20%), domestic violence (14.52%), hereditary (13.13%), evil spirit (12.85%) and trauma (12.01%) were identified by the respondents as the major belief causes of mental illness. Sleep disturbances (13.95%), tension (13.06%), aggression and wandering (12.46%), suicidal thoughts (10.97%) and sadness and loss of interest (10.68%) were identified by the respondents as a major symptoms of mental illness. Also, the findings of this study indicated that respondents identified orthodox medicine (31.82%), traditional medicine (28.79%) and spiritual healing (25.76%) as the major preferred place for treatment of mental illness. There is need for mental health care personnel to collaborate with community members in changing the wrong perception and negative beliefs of mental illnesses through community sensitization and involvements.
Key words: Belief, Community mental health, Mental illness, Perception