Explanatory models and mental health treatment: is vodou an obstacle to psychiatric treatment in rural Haiti?
ABSTRACT Vodou as an explanatory framework for illness has been considered an impediment to biomedical psychiatric treatment in rural Haiti by some scholars and Haitian professionals. According to this perspective, attribution of mental illness to supernatural possession drives individuals to seek care from houngan-s (Vodou priests) and other folk practitioners, rather than physicians, psychologists, or psychiatrists. This study investigates whether explanatory models of mental illness invoking supernatural causation result in care-seeking from folk practitioners and resistance to biomedical treatment. The study comprised 31 semi-structured interviews with community leaders, traditional healers, religious leaders, and biomedical providers, 10 focus group discussions with community members, community health workers, health promoters, community leaders, and church members; and four in-depth case studies of individuals exhibiting mental illness symptoms conducted in Haiti's Central Plateau. Respondents invoked multiple explanatory models for mental illness and expressed willingness to receive treatment from both traditional and biomedical practitioners. Folk practitioners expressed a desire to collaborate with biomedical providers and often referred patients to hospitals. At the same time, respondents perceived the biomedical system as largely ineffective for treating mental health problems. Explanatory models rooted in Vodou ethnopsychology were not primary barriers to pursuing psychiatric treatment. Rather, structural factors including scarcity of treatment resources and lack of psychiatric training among health practitioners created the greatest impediments to biomedical care for mental health concerns in rural Haiti.
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ABSTRACT: Health psychology researchers have begun to focus greater attention on people's beliefs about health/illness since these beliefs can clearly affect behavior. This cross-sectional study aimed at (1) identifying the most common factors psychotic patients attribute their illness to and (2) assessing the association between causal attribution and illness perception (cognitive, emotional, and comprehensibility dimensions). Sixty-two patients (56.5% females) who had been treated for psychosis at a public psychiatric hospital in Mexico answered the Angermeyer and Klusmann Illness Attribution Scale and the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire. Results showed that most patients attributed psychosis onset to social factors and that attribution to their personality might have an overwhelmingly negative effect on their lives. Acknowledging psychotic patient attributional beliefs and considering them in clinical practice could improve treatment efficacy and overall recovery success. This is particularly important in psychosis, since symptoms are often severe and/or persistent and require long-term treatment.TheScientificWorldJournal. 01/2014; 2014:969867.
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ABSTRACT: Three-quarters of the global mental health burden exists in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), yet the lack of mental health services in resource-poor settings is striking. Task-sharing (also, task-shifting), where mental health care is provided by non-specialists, has been proposed to improve access to mental health care in LMICs. This multi-site qualitative study investigates the acceptability and feasibility of task-sharing mental health care in LMICs by examining perceptions of primary care service providers (physicians, nurses, and community health workers), community members, and service users in one district in each of the five countries participating in the PRogramme for Improving Mental health carE (PRIME): Ethiopia, India, Nepal, South Africa, and Uganda. Thirty-six focus group discussions and 164 in-depth interviews were conducted at the pre-implementation stage between February and October 2012 with the objective of developing district level plans to integrate mental health care into primary care. Perceptions of the acceptability and feasibility of task-sharing were evaluated first at the district level in each country through open-coding and then at the cross-country level through a secondary analysis of emergent themes. We found that task-sharing mental health services is perceived to be acceptable and feasible in these LMICs as long as key conditions are met: 1) increased numbers of human resources and better access to medications; 2) ongoing structured supportive supervision at the community and primary care-levels; and 3) adequate training and compensation for health workers involved in task-sharing. Taking into account the socio-cultural context is fundamental for identifying local personnel who can assist in detection of mental illness and facilitate treatment and care as well as training, supervision, and service delivery. By recognizing the systemic challenges and sociocultural nuances that may influence task-sharing mental health care, locally-situated interventions could be more easily planned to provide appropriate and acceptable mental health care in LMICs.Social Science [?] Medicine 07/2014; 118C:33-42. · 2.56 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Addressing mental health needs of 100,000 ethnic Nepali Bhutanese refugees relocated from Nepal is a new challenge for mental health clinicians in the receiving countries. A limitation of current services is the lack of knowledge about cultural understandings of mental health. Ethnopsychology is the study of emotions, suffering, the self, and social relationships from a cultural perspective. Nepali ethnopsychology can be used to develop and adapt mental health interventions for refugees. We discuss applying ethnopsychology to provide safe and effective mental healthcare for Bhutanese refugees, including cultural adaptation of cognitive behavior therapy, interpersonal therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy. Psychological interventions are proposed for the high rates of suicide among Bhutanese refugees. The contribution of ethnopsychology to applied anthropology and the growing field of neuroanthropology are discussed.Annals of Anthropological Practice. 05/2012; 36(1).