THE NIGERIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY
Volume 12, No. 2, (2014)
Social Context of Healthcare Utilization among People with Mental Illness in Southwestern, Nigeria
Motunrayo M. Ayobola & Ezebunwa E. Nwokocha
Department of Sociology University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
Corresponding author: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
This study examined healthcare utilization among people with mental illness in Abeokuta and Ibadan, Southwest Nigeria as a way of understanding the context in which health seeking and treatment take place. The Health Belief Model and Rational Choice Theory were employed as theoretical framework. Data were collected using three qualitative methods. Twenty four In-depth Interviews (IDIs) were conducted among traditional healers, psychiatrist and significant others to patients. Four Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) were undertaken among mental healthcare providers. In addition, four FGDs were conducted among female and male participants in Ibadan. Findings revealed a strong perception that mental illness is caused mainly by supernatural force. The notion that mental illness is incurable, transmissible and infectious accounts for harassment and stigmatization of victims and their families which often explains the withdrawal of patients from medical care. Most of the participants preferred the traditional pathway to treatment, irrespective of its perceived limitations. It is essential to put in place a policy to discourage stigmatization and discrimination against mentally ill patients in order to encourage healthcare utilization.
Keywords: mental-healthcare, mental illness, stigmatization, supernatural forces, integration of medical systems