Under-utilization of services by individuals with
mental illness is widespread and has been linked to stigma. Interventions to
combat stigma can improve service utilization. There is a paucity of research
that evaluates interventions to combat stigma. This study sought to ascertain
the possible impact of an interventional programme on service engagement among
patients with mental illness, and access for changes in patterns and correlates
of mental illness in these individuals
This is a retrospective/cross-sectional study
conducted at a regional psychiatric hospital in Nigeria.
This report compares two groups (pre and post
intervention groups), following an intervention initiated by the hospital to
combat stigma, in 2008. They were compared in terms of service engagement,
clinical and socio-demographic characteristics. All patients who presented for
the first time during the study period were recruited. All information were
sourced from patients’ case notes. Using the
SPSS16, descriptive statistics were used to summarize the data and inferential
statistics to test associations.
There was a six-fold increase in service engagement
(p=0.002) with a reduction in the duration of untreated psychosis. The pre-intervention
group significantly had longer duration of inpatients care (p=0.029), higher
use of depot antipsychotics (p<0.0001) and higher prescription of ECT (p<0.0001).
However, the post intervention group had a significantly higher use of
psychoactive substance (p=0.013)
misconceptions about mental illness, psychiatric treatments and mental health
facilities could reduce stigma, enhance service utilization, and improve
clinical outcomes for people with mental illness. More
robust studies are needed.
service engagement, stigma, intervention programme,
mentally ill patients, duration of untreated illness, prognosis
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