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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 84-86

Trend of first consultation of persons with mental illness, and pattern of switch among services

Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, Osmania Medical College, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
R Raja Shekar
Postgraduate, Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, Hyderabad-500038. Andhra Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background: Psychiatric services in India are limited. As a result, a variety of people including faith healers, unqualified medical professionals etc, form first line of contact for patients with mental illness. Also, faith in the medical model of psychiatric illness may be shattered during course of treatment owing to chronicity of illness. Aim: This study was planned to understand the factors which lead the patients to faith healers and to assess the percentage of patients switching over to faith healers from medical professionals. Methods: A hospital based study was conducted at Institute of Mental Health, Hyderabad on patients visiting outpatient department using a semi structured questionnaire. The data was analysed using Microsoft excel version. Only the prevalence was estimated. Results: Among 98 people who were included in the study, males predominated. The socio demographic factors which had impact on patients approaching faith healer were; age less than 35 years, literacy, and family income. Urban or rural background did not have much impact on patients contacting faith healers. Patients consulting non psychiatric medical professionals have higher switch compared to those consulting psychiatrists. Conclusion: There is a need to increase awareness regarding psychiatry among non-psychiatrists, with an effective referral system in place. Awareness programmes also should be targeted to general population.

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