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Beliefs and community response to mental illness in Ghana : the experience of family carers

Quinn, Neil (2007) Beliefs and community response to mental illness in Ghana : the experience of family carers. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 53 (2). pp. 175-188. ISSN 0020-7640

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Abstract

Background: There is often a lack of agreement on how to understand mental illness in low-income countries and support those experiencing it. This article explores the debate on beliefs and the implications for how society responds. Material: Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with 80 family carers across four sites in Ghana to explore the themes of beliefs, attitudes, carer burden and support. Discussion and conclusions: There appears to be greater reliance on culturally specific explanations of mental illness in rural areas, combined with more acceptance and support, particularly in one rural area with strong traditional belief systems. This suggests the need to develop integrated mental health services, which reflect these differing beliefs.