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Awareness on mental illness and delay in seeking health services among members of psychiatric patient

Radha Aryal, Khagi Maya Pun, Deepak Belbase, Madan Prasad Panthi.


Background: Mental illness is an emerging problem in Nepal. Awareness about mental illness is the major determinant for early detection of the problem and prevention from delay in seeking the psychiatric treatment.

Objective: This study aims to evaluate the awareness of mental illness among family members of psychiatric patient and explore factors contributing to delay in seeking health service.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at Patan Hospital, Patan Academy of Health Sciences, Nepal. Non-probability purposive sampling technique was used to select the sample. New patientÂ’s family members attending for checkup were interviewed. A self-constructed open- and close-ended questionnaire in Nepali was used for data collection to analyze. The data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics such as frequency, percentage, mean, median standard deviation, and Chi-square.

Results: Out of 126 family members, 101 (80.16%) had heard about mental illness and among them 42 (41.60%) of the respondents had poor level of awareness. Almost half 62 (49.21%) of the respondents had late delay in seeking health services and the reasons for delay were; unable to identify the symptoms 57 (45.20%), initial treatment with Dhami and Jhakris 37 (29.40%), and conducting religious activity at home 22 (27.50%). There was no significant association between delay and sociodemographic variables of the family members.

Conclusion: Study demonstrated that nearly 1/2 of the respondents had poor knowledge and almost 1/2 of the respondents had longer delay for treatment seeking and nearly half 1/2 of the respondents main reason for delay in treatment seeking was unable to identify the symptoms.

Key words: Awareness; Delay; Mental Illness; Seeking Treatment

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