n African Journal of Psychiatry - Management of perceived mental health problems by spiritual healers : a Nigerian study : original article

Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1994-8220



Anecdotal reports and research findings have suggested that religious healers are widely consulted by many Nigerians in time of mental health crisis. The study aimed at examining the knowledge, attitude and practice of mental health care among a syncretic Church's healers, and their readiness to cooperate with Psychiatrists. A modified, pilot-tested, self-completed questionnaire was used to obtain information from consenting spiritual healers who satisfy the inclusion criteria. Focus group discussions (FGDs), Participatory Observation (PO) and Key Informant Interviews (KII) were used to corroborate or refute the findings. The respondents' knowledge of mental disorders was limited to psychotic disorders; their explanatory model was similar to beliefs of the populace. In practice, they combined some modern medical approach, some native methodology and some eclectic religious practices such as prophecy, trance and dream. Only 6% of them ever referred their clients to medical practitioners. Religious healers still constitute an important route to access mental health care providers to some Nigerians.

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