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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 157-162

Availability of mental health services at the primary care level in northern part of Nigeria: Service providers' and users' perspectives

1 Department of Nursing Sciences, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria
2 Department of Psychiatry, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria
3 Department of Nursing Sciences, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria
4 School of Nursing, Birnin Kudu, Jigawa State, Nigeria
5 Department of Nursing Sciences, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Emmanuel Ejembi Anyebe
Department of Nursing Sciences, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, Ilorin
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_52_19

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Background/Objectives: Community-based mental health services (MHSs) should target 70% of the rural population, the end users of primary health-care (PHC) services. In this study, the views of the service users and providers were explored to determine the level of MHSs available at their PHC care centers in three selected states in northern part of Nigeria. Materials and Methods: Concurrent quantitative and qualitative data (using mixed-methods research) were collected from a sample of 249 participants through a survey questionnaire and focus group discussions. The sets of data were analyzed using SPSS 23.0 and thematic clustering; these were triangulated to determine the availability of the MHSs. Results: PHC service providers and users reported that PHC centers lacked any formal MHSs, and only a few personal efforts by service providers were mentioned. The service users could not attest to even these unofficial services. Conclusion: Primary MHSs remain conspicuously absent at community level in the study areas. Both service providers and users attest to the near-complete scarcity despite their willingness to provide and use the services, respectively, if and when formal arrangements can be made. Recommendations: Stakeholders' attention is once again drawn to a neglected component of the PHC to promote mental health and prevent community mental health problems characteristic of many communities.

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