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

Article Number: EC/2014/135

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.