American Journal of Applied Psychology
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American Journal of Applied Psychology. 2015, 3(2), 34-42
DOI: 10.12691/ajap-3-2-2
Open AccessArticle

Perceived Causes of Mental Illness and Treatment Seeking Behaviors among People with Mental Health Problems in Gebremenfes Kidus Holy Water Site

Kahsay Weldeslasie Hailemariam1,

1Psychology Department, College of Social Sciences and Languages, Mekelle University, Mekelle, Ethiopia

Pub. Date: April 24, 2015

Cite this paper:
Kahsay Weldeslasie Hailemariam. Perceived Causes of Mental Illness and Treatment Seeking Behaviors among People with Mental Health Problems in Gebremenfes Kidus Holy Water Site. American Journal of Applied Psychology. 2015; 3(2):34-42. doi: 10.12691/ajap-3-2-2


This study assesses the perceived causes of mental illnesses and treatment seeking behaviors among patients who attended the holy water sprinkling religious practice in the holy site of Gebremenfes Kidus holy water around Axum town. The data were collected from 25 participants who were sprinkled by the holy water at the time. A case study method was employed in order to collect detail and in-depth information from the target participants of the study. The researcher used available sampling method and collected the data using semi-structured interview from the patients and their caregivers. The participants were with full of insight about their health problems. Most patients in the holy water attributed the mental illness to different social evil practices and traditional beliefs as well as to the punishing hands of the God as a result of disobeying to the religious principles and social taboos. The treatment seeking preference of most patients was spiritual practices like, holy water sprinkling, praying and other traditional healing techniques such as herbal medicines with no dose limit and no scientific proof for the effectiveness of the medicine. Generally, participants had negative attitude towards the effectiveness of the modern medicine or professional help to the illness. A research conducted in Uganda revealed the same result. In some Ugandan communities, help is mostly sought from traditional healers initially, whereas western form of care is usually considered as a last resort. The factors found to influence help seeking behavior within the community include: beliefs about the causes of mental illness and the people’s lack of awareness about the scientific cause and treatment approaches to the illness [1].

perceived cause mental illness treatment seeking behavior

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