This study aims to explore how cultural beliefs and traditions are integral to understanding indigenous mental health conditions (MHCs) and traditional healing (TH). However, Nigerian cultural beliefs about MHCs and TH are under-researched.
This study adopted a qualitative design using critical realist and social constructionist perspectives to explore Nigerian mental health-care practitioners (MHCPs) and lay participants’ (LPs) views regarding MHCs and TH. Purposive and snowball sampling techniques were used to select 53 participants (MHCPs = 26; LPs = 27; male = 32; female = 21) in four Nigerian cities (Ado-Ekiti, Enugu, Jos and Zaria). Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and analysed through thematic analyses.
The data sets revealed three overarching themes, namely, existing cultural beliefs about MHCs as spiritual curse; description of TH as the first treatment modality for MHCs; and perceived stigma associated with MHCs and help-seeking behaviours.
A study on Nigerian cultural beliefs and TH contributes meaningfully to mental health systems. Future research and policy initiatives could explore ways of optimising TH practices and community awareness programmes to increase access to mental health care in Nigeria.
The study acknowledges the contribution of PhD research supervisors (i) Professor Rachel Tribe (ii) Professor Aneta Tunariu and (iii) Dr Poul Rohleder. 2015 University of East London Excellence PhD Scholarship.
Jidong, D.E., Bailey, D., Sodi, T., Gibson, L., Sawadogo, N., Ikhile, D., Musoke, D., Madhombiro, M. and Mbah, M. (2021), "Nigerian cultural beliefs about mental health conditions and traditional healing: a qualitative study", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 285-299. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-08-2020-0057
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