Roles of Religious and Spiritual Advisors Among Adults in Singapore With Mental Illnesses
OBJECTIVE Information is limited concerning the role of religious and spiritual advisors in providing help to people with mental illnesses in Singapore. This study examined that role, as well as the satisfaction with and the perceived effectiveness of the services provided, among people with mental health problems. METHODS Data were collected as part of a nationally representative household survey of residents 18 years and older in Singapore. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview, version 3.0, was used to diagnose mental illness as well as to collect information about the mental health services respondents had sought. RESULTS A total of 6,616 respondents completed the survey; in the overall sample, 1.5% reported seeking help from religious or spiritual advisors. This rate increased to 6.6% among those with at least one mental illness, with the prevalence being higher among respondents with lifetime dysthymia, generalized anxiety disorder, or bipolar disorder. Sociodemographic correlates associated with a lower likelihood of consultation with a religious or spiritual advisor included reporting "other" race-ethnicity as well as faith in Buddhism, Hinduism, or Islam. Most respondents who sought help from a religious or spiritual advisor in the last 12 months were satisfied with the help they received, and about half reported it to be very useful. CONCLUSIONS Religious and spiritual advisors are an important source of help for people with mental illness, and a majority of respondents with a mental illness were satisfied with the support they received from these sources.
Available from: Sutapa Basu
- "In a study done in Singapore (Picco et al., 2013), it was found that in individuals with one mental illness, the prevalence of lifetime use of religious or spiritual advisors was 6.6%, which was higher than that (1.5%) observed for the overall study sample. In this study, it was found that Christians were more likely than Buddhists and Hindus to seek help from spiritual advisors. "
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Some studies have suggested ethnicity as being one of the causes leading to a longer duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) in first episode psychosis.
AIM: We sought to investigate this issue, in a large cohort of patients with a first episode of psychosis, in Singapore.
METHOD: In this naturalistic retrospective study, 794 patients accepted into Early Psychosis Intervention Programme (EPIP) services in Singapore were recruited. Diagnosis was made based on SCID 1 (Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV), Axis I Disorders). Information about DUP and sociodemographic characteristics was collected from patients and relatives. Positive and Negative Symptom Scale (PANSS) and Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) Scale were used as tools to assess the severity of symptoms and functioning of the patient, respectively, at baseline, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months.
RESULTS: The mean and 50th quantile (median) of DUP for this sample were 14.2 and 6, respectively. The mean and median DUP were higher among Indians than in the other ethnic groups. After adjusting for demographic variables, Indian ethnicity was significantly associated with higher median and 75th Percentile DUP than Chinese. Secondary and tertiary education and diagnosis of affective psychosis and brief psychotic disorder (vs. schizophrenia spectrum and delusional disorder) were also significantly associated with lower mean, median and 75th percentile DUP symptoms. Increase in age was significantly associated with higher mean, median and 75th percentile DUP while married and separated/divorced (vs. single) was significantly associated with lower mean and 75th percentile DUP.
CONCLUSION: This study found a positive correlation between certain ethnic groups and DUP. Indian ethnicity, older age, single, lower education and patients diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum and delusional disorders were more likely to be associated with longer DUP.
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Studies examining mental health treatment dropout have primarily focused on Western populations and less so on Asian samples. The current study explored the prevalence and correlates of mental health treatment dropout across the various healthcare sectors in Singapore.
Materials and methods:
Data was utilised from the Singapore Mental Health Study (SMHS), a cross-sectional epidemiological survey conducted among an adult population (n = 6616) aged 18 years and above. Statistical analyses were done on a subsample of respondents (n = 55) who had sought treatment from the various treatment providers (i.e. mental health, medical, social services and religious healers) in the past 12 months. The World Mental Health (WMH) Composite International Diagnostic Interview version 3.0 (CIDI 3.0) was used to determine diagnoses of mental disorders, chronic medical disorders and service utilisation.
Of those who had received treatment, 37.6% had ended treatment prematurely, 23.2% had completed treatment and 39.2% were still in treatment. The religious and spiritual sector (83.1%) had the highest dropout, followed by the general medical sector (34.6%), mental health services sector (33.9%) and the social services sector (30%). Marital status emerged as the only sociodemographic factor that significantly predicted treatment dropout-with those who were married being significantly less likely to drop out than those who were single.
The overall dropout rate across the various healthcare sectors was comparable to past studies. While the small sample size limits the generalisability of findings, the current study provides useful insight into treatment dropout in an Asian population.
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