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Changing patterns of mental health knowledge in rural Kenya after intervention using the WHO mhGAP-Intervention Guide

  • V. N. Mutiso (a1), K. M. Pike (a2), C. N. Musyimi (a1), T. J. Rebello (a2), A. Tele (a1), I. Gitonga (a1), G. Thornicroft (a3) and D. M. Ndetei (a1) (a4)...

Abstract

Background

Despite the high prevalence of mental disorders, mental health literacy has been comparatively neglected. People's symptom-management strategies will be influenced by their mental health literacy. This study sought to determine the feasibility of using the World Health Organization mhGAP-Intervention Guide (IG) as an educational tool for one-on-one contact in a clinical setting to increase literacy on the specified mental disorders.

Methods

This study was conducted in 20 health facilities in Makueni County, southeast Kenya which has one of the poorest economies in Kenya. It has no psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. We recruited 3267 participants from a community that had already been exposed to community mental health services. We used Mental Health Knowledge Schedule to measure the changing patterns of mental health knowledge after a period of 3 months, following a training intervention using the WHO mhGAP-IG.

Results

Overall, there was a significant increase in mental health related knowledge [mean range 22.4–23.5 for both post-test and pre-test scores (p < 0.001)]. This increase varied with various socio-demographic characteristics such as sex, marital status, level of education, employment status and wealth index.

Conclusions

mhGAP-IG is a feasible tool to increase mental health literacy in low-resource settings where there are no mental health specialists. Our study lends evidence that the WHO Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2020 and reduction of the treatment gap may be accelerated by the use of mhGAP-IG through improving knowledge about mental illness and potentially subsequent help seeking for early diagnosis and treatment.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: D. M. Ndetei, E-mail: dmndetei@amhf.or.ke

References

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