Why do patients with mental disorders default treatment? A qualitative enquiry in rural kwazulu-natal, south africa

Kebogile Elizabeth Mokwena*, Jabulile Ndlovu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although treatment default by psychiatric patients or mental health care users is a global challenge, this behavior is reported to be higher in South Africa. The Manguzi District Hospital in rural Kwa-Zulu Natal Province, South Africa, experiences high rates of treatment default by psychiatric patients. The objective of this study was to determine the reasons for treatment defaulting at Manguzi Hospital, KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. An explorative qualitative design, using in-depth interviews, was conducted with mental health care users who had defaulted outpatient psychiatric treatment. Twenty-one mental health care users were interviewed before data saturation was reached. Nvivo version 11 was used to analyze the qualitative data. Major themes that emerged confirmed that social factors are key contributions to treatment defaulting, and these include denial of the mental disorders; belief that they are cured; lack of, or disintegration of social support; preference for traditional medicine; and flaws in the health care system. Social determinants of treatment outcomes for mental disorders require tailor-made support systems for patients in these rural communities, which include increase in health literacy and attention to the cultural understanding of mental disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number461
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Mental disorders
  • Qualitative study
  • Rural
  • South Africa
  • Treatment default
  • Treatment outcomes

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