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Title: Changing levels in service engagement and pattern of socio-demographic and clinical characteristics

Article Number: EC/2014/134

Authors: Dr Omoaregba JO, Dr Eze GO, Dr Oseyemwen NK, Dr Ut

Topic: Psychology




Under-utilization of services by individuals with mental illness is widespread and has been linked to stigma. Interventions to combat stigma can improve service utilization. There is a paucity of research that evaluates interventions to combat stigma. This study sought to ascertain the possible impact of an interventional programme on service engagement among patients with mental illness, and access for changes in patterns and correlates of mental illness in these individuals


This is a retrospective/cross-sectional study conducted at a regional psychiatric hospital in Nigeria.


This report compares two groups (pre and post intervention groups), following an intervention initiated by the hospital to combat stigma, in 2008. They were compared in terms of service engagement, clinical and socio-demographic characteristics. All patients who presented for the first time during the study period were recruited. All information were sourced from patients’ case notes. Using the SPSS 16, descriptive statistics were used to summarize the data and inferential statistics to test associations.


There was a six-fold increase in service engagement (p=0.002) with a reduction in the duration of untreated psychosis. The pre-intervention group significantly had longer duration of inpatients care (p=0.029), higher use of depot antipsychotics (p< 0.0001) and higher prescription of ECT (p< 0.0001). However, the post intervention group had a significantly higher use of psychoactive substance (p=0.013)


Correcting misconceptions about mental illness, psychiatric treatments and mental health facilities could reduce stigma, enhance service utilization, and improve clinical outcomes for people with mental illness. More robust studies are needed.


    COMMENT - 1

  • Onoruvie Gift Otegah (Viewer) 29th Jan 2015 - 4:45 PM
    This is interesting

  • COMMENT - 2

  • SAHILA PEERBHAI (Viewer) 3rd Feb 2015 - 6:36 PM
    Thank you for the study. The study emphasises on the stigma due to mental illness. In fact this needs to be looked into. The stigma due to mental illness can be overcome by health education and primary prevention. Primary health care should include mental Health awareness so that people are sensitized and come forward for services at the different levels. Moreover the staff should be capacitated at all levels and should work towards integrating mental health into the existing services provided and not consider it as being on its on.

  • COMMENT - 3

  • JOYCE OHIOLE OMOAREGBA (Author) 3rd Feb 2015 - 7:51 PM
    thank you for your well thought out comments

  • COMMENT - 4

  • NZASI MUNDABI (Viewer) 7th Feb 2015 - 2:10 PM
    Several studies have reported aggregate decreases in children’s behavioral and emotional problems after entering care in community-based service systems, reflecting overall improvement in symptoms. I totally agreed with you!