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From evil spirits to extra affection: - An investigation of Ghanaian nursing students’ attitudes towards mental illness
The Swedish Red Cross University College.
The Swedish Red Cross University College.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Background: People suffering from mental illness are stigmatised in almost all societies and nurses are in key position to break this stigma. Ghana is a country greatly influenced by religion and traditional beliefs, which, by and large, affects the perception of mental illness. Nursing students have the opportunity to learn how to understand mental illness and have, due to this, an important role fighting old traditions and breaking the stigma. Aim: to examine Ghanaian nursing student’s attitudes towards mental illness. Method: This is a descriptive empirical study carried out by collecting qualitative data with semi-structured interviews. Result: The students recognize that lack of education and information within the Ghanaian society contributes to stigmatization and isolation of people suffering from mental disorders. Lack of resources, hospitals and educated health care-staff are major problems that need to be solved. The students highlight that society believes mental illness to be caused by evil spirits as result of bad behavior. The students state that mental illness is caused by chemical imbalance in the body due to heredity, nutritional factor and/or drugs. The students stress the importance of treating mentally ill patients as any other patient; good nursing is believed to be fundamental to the recovery process. Conclusion: The students’ attitudes towards mental illness differs a lot form their perception of what society in general considers. Clinical significance: The findings show a need for broadening the knowledge about mental illness in the Ghanaian community; nurses could help eradicating the stigmatization of mentally ill persons.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 29 p.
Keyword [en]
mental illness, Ghana, nursing students, attitudes, nursing care
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:rkh:diva-466OAI: diva2:567560
Educational program
Available from: 2012-11-13 Created: 2012-11-13 Last updated: 2015-07-17Bibliographically approved

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