Exploring Mental Health Awareness: A Study on Knowledge and Perceptions of Mental Health Disorders among Residents of Matsafeni Village, Mbombela, Mpumalanga Province

Eseldah Nkhensani Mboweni, Mabitsela Hezekiel Mphasha*, Linda Skaal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The global rise in mental health disorders has significant social, economic, and physical impacts. Despite advancements in support, cultural beliefs attributing mental illnesses to spiritual causes persist, fostering discrimination and stigmatization. The study aims to explore the understanding and perceptions of mental health in Matsafeni Village, acknowledging the complexity of mental health issues. A qualitative method and a descriptive exploratory design were employed, enabling the researcher to describe, examine, and explore the knowledge and perceptions regarding mental health. Data collection was conducted through unstructured, open-ended interviews, with 15 participants selected through convenience sampling. The data were analyzed through thematic analysis. Measures of rigor were ensured through credibility, transferability, confirmability, and dependability. Participants demonstrated knowledge of mental health disorders, recognizing disruptions in thought patterns and diverse symptoms. They highlighted key signs and behaviors, emphasizing the need for spotting indicators such as untidiness. Perceptions of the causes of mental illness varied, including witchcraft and genetics. Participants unanimously advocated for seeking help from traditional healers, medical facilities, and therapies. Community members shared their views of mental health, covering their understanding, recognition of signs, personal interactions, and observations of behaviors in individuals with mental health conditions. Reported symptoms align with existing research, emphasizing the complexity of managing safety concerns in severe mental illnesses. The study highlights the need for community education to reduce stigma, considering cultural factors in mental health perceptions. Recommendations include early interventions, enhanced mental health services, and collaboration between western and traditional approaches for a holistic and culturally sensitive approach to mental health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number85
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • community
  • knowledge
  • mental disorder
  • mental health
  • perception

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