18.3.2  Getting early treatment for mental illness

Whenever you have an opportunity, emphasise the benefits of treatment for mental illness. If people do not know that effective treatment exists then they will not make use of the available services.

In Study Session 9 you learned about competing explanatory models for mental illness (see Section 9.2.2). Ask the people in your local community their beliefs about mental illness. Educate people about the causes of mental illness and the available treatment. For example, explain that spirits and witchcraft have nothing to do with mental illness. Patiently listen to their doubts and experiences.

Do not argue with or confront people and always treat them with respect. Do not make fun of them and do not get angry. Instead, persuade them to try modern medicines and consult the doctor, even if they use traditional treatments at the same time. These beliefs have been part of our culture for many years and cannot disappear in a short period.

18.3.1  Screening for specific mental illnesses

18.4  Suicide prevention