Mental Health Literacy about schizophrenia among secondary school students in Lagos Nigeria.

Mental Health Literacy about schizophrenia among secondary school students in Lagos Nigeria.

Author by Dr. Increase Adeosun

Journal/Publisher: International Neuropsychiatric Disease Journal

Volume/Edition: 4

Language: English

Pages: 132 - 139


Aim: There is a huge treatment gap for schizophrenia in low and middle income countries. Mental

health literacy is a pre-requisite for prompt and appropriate help-seeking for schizophrenia. The

current study assessed mental health literacy about schizophrenia in a sample of secondary school

students in Lagos, Nigeria.

Study Design and Method: A cross-sectional study design was used. Secondary school students

(n=156) attending a public co-educational secondary school in Lagos, south-West Nigeria

completed a vignette-based questionnaire which assessed literacy about schizophrenia.

Results: None of the respondents accurately identified schizophrenia in the case vignette.

However, 25.6% identified the vignette as a mental disorder, while 3.9%, 2.6% and 0.6% labelled it

as emotional problem, depression and mania respectively. Stigmatising labels such as

‘insane /’mad’/’brain touch’ were used by 14.1% of the respondents. About a fifth (21.2%) perceived the

vignette as a reaction to stress or negative emotional state. Other responses included drug

addiction (3.2%), evil spirit possession (5.8%), cultism (3.9%), HIV-AIDS (3.9%) and guilt (5.1%).

Less than a quarter (23.7%) of the respondents recommended psychiatrists/mental health services

as the appropriate source of help-seeking.

Conclusion: The huge knowledge deficits about schizophrenia in this limited sample suggest a

significantly unmet need for mental health literacy interventions among adolescents in Nigeria. This

may negatively impact on appropriate help-seeking and outcomes of individuals with

schizophrenia. Further larger scale studies are needed to confirm and extend our findings.

Other Co-Authors