Mental Disorders and Help-Seeking Behavior among Adults Attending Nyeri County Referral Hospital, Kenya
Mental illness has become a growing concern of public health which based on World Health Organization has affected roughly 500 million persons across the globe. What is more worrying however is that due to high level of stigmatization in society there has not been timely response and decisiveness on the part of patients or caregivers on seeking help. This has in turn increased the disease burden since it is relatively less understood. While most studies have attributed low uptake of mental health services to help-seeking manners of persons having mental infection, it does not go without mention that there is little on record of how the disease has affected the lives of many in Kenya. This study with particular interest in Nyeri County investigated the prevalence of mental disorders based on various socio-demographic characteristics of adult patients attending Nyeri County Referral Hospital. The paper further conducted an assessment of the help-seeking behaviour among patients. The study was anchored in the health belief model and employed a cross-sectional survey design. The study targeted Adults attending Nyeri County Referral Hospital from which a sample of 200 respondents were purposeful selected. Questionnaire guide was used to collect data which was later analysed descriptively. The study established that women were more affected than men and that seeking help was intentional among the patients despite the fact that some respondents could not seek help for fear of intimidation or lack of trust in the system. Nonetheless, most (79%) respondents had intentions of seeking mental health help in future even though they did not know where to get the help from. The study recommends that public health officials should diversify the channels of health messages on mental health services to reach majority of people.
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