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Policy perspectives and attitudes towards mental health treatment in rural Senegal

Background: Mental health is often given low priority in health policy planning, particularly in developing countries. Several international health bodies, including the World Health Organization, recommend integrating mental health into primary care settings to reduce mortality and morbidity associated with mental illness, particularly in low-resource settings. Objective: This study explores health care workers and policy stakeholders knowledge and attitudes regarding mental illness, interactions with patients in the community, and perceived training needs at a health clinic in rural southeastern Senegal. Interviews were conducted with eight key informant medical staff members and community health workers. Methods: Interview data were analyzed and interpreted using a qualitative content analysis based on the grounded theory approach. Results: The findings indicate that staff members encouter many patients with émotional/psychological problems or mental illnesses, and they employ various strategies in treating these patients. Respondents also highlighted the need for more training to address and diagnose mental health problems especially severe psychiatric illnesses. Conclusions: Findings are used to discuss recommendations for developing a comprehensive mental health primary care treatment approach that includes screening patients for mental health problems screening, incorporating rural villagers attitudes and beliefs about mental illness into treatment, and utilizing community health workers – who are often a first health contact for many - to work with the medical staff to identify mental health problems.

Année de publication : 2014
Revue : Int J Ment Health Syst.
Type : Article
Mise en ligne par : BA Idrissa