PUBLIC PERCEPTION AND IMPLICATIONS OF MENTAL ILLNESS IN ENUGU URBAN, ENUGU STATE, NIGERIA

Sabastine Sunday Ezeh, Bentina Alawari Mathias, Christopher Chimaobi Ibekwe

Abstract


Mental illness is one of the most endemic diseases which both individuals and society at large deemed undesirable. This paper examines public perception and implications of mental illness in Enugu Urban, Enugu State, Nigeria. The theoretical orientation adopted is attribution theory. This paper adopted across sectional survey design. The target population is 753,870 and a sample size of 300 was statistically determined using Fisher’s formula. The respondents are residents of Enugu Urban, aged 15 years and above. Multi-stage sampling technique was used in selecting respondents. The instruments of data collection were questionnaire, Key Informant Interview (KII) and In-Depth Interview (IDI). The quantitative data were analysed using percentages, frequency count and chi-square (x2) inferential statistics, while thematic method was used in analysis of qualitative data. The major findings showed that prevailing public perception of mental illness in Enugu Urban were negative, avoidance and maltreatment. Again, it was found that implications of such perceptions were abandonment of mentally ill and the wide believe that they constitute public nuisance. This paper recommends that there should be serious reorientation of the residents of Enugu urban on issues of mental illness. The national assembly should try and enact laws that will ensure that the right or human dignity of mentally ill persons is protected.


Keywords


Implications, Maltreatment, Mental illness, Perception, Rejection

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