Child and adolescent mental health intervention: The perspectives of social workers and religious healers in Ghana

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för socialt arbete

Abstract: The involvement of social workers and religious healers in the treatment and management of child and adolescent mental health disorder (CAMHD) is not a new phenomenon in most African contexts such as Ghana. CAMHD is a global burden, and it is projected to be more in Low and medium-income countries (LMICs) than in High income countries (HICs) in the near future due to the lack of attention and support accorded mental health care in LIMCs. This exploratory qualitative study is conducted to fill the knowledge and research gap in the role of social workers and religious healers in the treatment and management of CAMHD and explore ways to curb stigma and discriminations related to mental illness.This study involved social workers, traditional healers, pastors and Imams. I employed purposive sampling and snowball techniques in the selection of 17 participants for this study. Participants were drawn from four regions in Ghana, Greater Accra, Central, Eastern and the Volta regions. The aim of the study is to explore and describe the role of social workers and religious healers in the treatment and management of CAMHDs. Data collected were analysed using ATLAS.ti 9.0. a computer software that supports qualitative data analysis.The findings from the study reveal that social workers and religious healers play distinct roles and hold divergent views on mental illness etiology which is largely shaped by their health and illness explanatory models. However, social workers and religious healers share similar views on stigma and discriminations due to mental health and offer similar measures to curb stigma and discriminations. Findings of the study proffer recommendations for social work practice, social work education and policy implementation, and suggests implication for social work practice.

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