Causes of Mental illnesses: A Survey on Attendants of Mentally ill Patients

Dr. Atif Abbas, Dr. Waqas Ali Haider, Dr. Ali Shan


Objective: The aim of the current work was to examine the beliefs of the attendants relating to the mental illness cause of their patients.

Place and Duration of Study: This study was carried out during January 2019 at Fauji Foundation Hospital, Lahore.

Materials and Methods: For getting the 500-sample size non-probability convenience sampling technique was applied. Criteria for inclusion was the written informed consent from the adult attendants. Attendants who were excluded were having medical illness, psychiatric illness and delusions. Attendants were asked to express their view about the causes of their patients’ mental illness. SPSS version 17 was used to analyse the collected data.

Results: The male attendants were 263(55.80%) and female were 217(45.20%). Men were having 32.75 ± 10.12 mean age and women were having 28.27 ± 9.38 mean age. Most of the them were illiterate, married and having rural background. There were 190 (39.58%) who were having family history of mental illness. The belief of the attendants relating to mental illness cause were as; evil spirits 131 (27.29%) medical i0llness 99 (20.62%), head injuries 38 (7.91%), attention seeking 72 (15%) drug abuse 55 (11.45%) disturbed relations 52 (10.83%), curse of God 22(4.58%) and  loss of loved ones 11 (2.29%).

Conclusion: 131 (27.29%) attendants out of 480 were of the view that main reason of their patients’ mental illness was evil spirits. According to 99 (20.62%) medical illness was also the reason. In view of 72 (15%) the reason for mental illness was attention seeking therefore they are changing their behaviour to get attention by their own.

Key Words: Attitude, Mental illness, Stigma, Mental health beliefs

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