Perceptions and Health-Seeking Behaviour for Mental Illness Among Syrian Refugees and Lebanese Community Members in Wadi Khaled, North Lebanon: A Qualitative Study
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JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
AbstractThis is a qualitative exploration of the perceptions of mental health (MH) and their influence on health-seeking behaviour among Syrian refugees and the Lebanese population in Wadi Khaled, a rural area of Lebanon bordering Syria. Eight focus group discussions and eight key informant interviews were conducted with male and female Syrian refugees and Lebanese community members from March to April 2018. MH illness was associated with stigma, shame and fear among both populations. Beliefs surrounding mental illness were strongly linked to religious beliefs, including Jinn. Religious healers were considered the first line of help for people with mental illnesses, and were perceived as culturally acceptable and less stigmatizing than MH professionals. It is essential for MH professionals to build trust with the communities in which they work. Collaboration with religious healers is key to identifying MH symptoms and creating referral pathways to MH professionals in this context.
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