An exploration of the perceptions of prison health care personnel regarding the accessibility of mental health services for inmates in Maseru prison

Posholi, Malerotholi (2019-04)

Thesis (MNur)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Introduction: There are about 450 million people globally who have mental illness. About one in nine prisoners globally suffer from common psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety. Psychiatric disorders are more prevalent among the prisoners than the general population. Mental health problems are prevalent in low and middle income countries but little attention is given to mental health services in these countries. The 2013 Global Burden of Disease Study found depression to be the second foremost source of incapacity globally and a main contributor to the burden of suicide and ischaemic heart disease. The high incidences of severe psychiatric disorders in prisons remain a challenge for mental health services. There are over 10 million inmates with mental illness globally. It has been found that a high percentage of the correctional residents have psychiatric disorders, for which there is need for proper care and support. Most of the reported studies were piloted in advanced countries, where mental illness in prison has received greater attention. In Lesotho little is known about the nature and effectiveness of mental health services; no study of this kind has as yet been done specifically in Lesotho with regard to mental illness among inmates in Lesotho prisons. Aim: The aim of the study was to explore the perceptions of health care personnel regarding the availability of and access to mental health care services for inmates in Maseru Prison. Methods: A qualitative descriptive design was used in this study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine participants. Findings: The perception of health care personnel in Maseru Prison was that there are increased numbers of inmates with mental illness in Maseru Prison, but they are undiagnosed and therefore not treated due to lack of knowledge among the present health care personnel. Mental health services are not accessible as there is no psychiatrist, psychologist nor medications to treat mentally ill inmates. Most health care personnel reported that they lacked confidence and competence in assisting mentally ill inmates as they don’t have knowledge concerning mental illness since mental health issues were not covered during their training. Conclusion: Minimal mental health services are provided at Maseru Prison due to lack of knowledge and unavailability of qualified mental health personnel. It is clear that mental health services in prisons are a global problem, including in Lesotho. It is therefore important that the ministry of Health addresses shortages of mental health care personnel working in Maseru Prison and closes the gap of lack of knowledge concerning mental health services by training the available personnel on psychiatric services.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Inleiding: Daar is wêreldwyd omtrent 450 miljoen mense wat aan geestesiektes ly. Ten minste een uit nege gevangenes ly aan algemene geestesgesondheidsprobleme soos depressie en angs. Geestesiektes kom oor die algemeen meer onder gevangenes voor as onder die algemene publiek. Daar word nietemin min aandag aan geestesgesondheidsdienste in lae- en middelinkomste lande geskenk. Die 2013 Globale Siekte-las Studie het bevind dat depressie die tweede belangrikste bron van onkapasiteit globaal is en ‘n hoofbydraer is tot die las van selfdood en iskemiese hartsiektes. Die hoë voorkoms van ernstige geestesiektes (EGS) in gevangenisse bly ‘n uitdaging vir geestesgesondheidsdienste. Daar is wêreldwyd meer as 10 miljoen gevangenes met geestesiektes. Daar is bevind dat ‘n groot persentasie van die gevangene-bevolking geestesgesondheidsprobleme het, waarvoor hulle geskikte sorg en ondersteuning benodig. Die meeste van die gerapporteerde studies is in ontwikkelde lande uitgevoer waar geestesiektes in tronke groter aandag kry. In Lesotho is min inligting beskikbaar aangaande die aard en effektiwiteit van geestesgesondheidsdienste; geen studie van hierdie aard is al spesifiek in Lesotho met betrekking tot geestesiektes onder die gevangenes in Lesotho se tronke uitgevoer nie. Doel: Die doel van hierdie studie is om die persepsies van gesondheidspersoneel ten opsigte van die beskikbaarheid en toegang tot geestesgesondheidsdienste vir gevangenes in die Maseru gevangenis te ondersoek. Metodes: ‘n Kwalitatiewe beskrywende studie navorsingsontwerp is in hierdie studie gebruik. Semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude is met nege deelnemers gevoer. Bevindings: Die persepsies van gesondheidspersoneel in Maseru is dat daar ‘n toenemende aantal gevangenes met geestesgesondheidsiektes in die Maseru gevangenis is, maar wat nie gediagnoseer is en dus onbehandel is, weens ‘n gebrek aan kennis onder die huidige gesondheidspersoneel. Geestesgesondheidsdienste is ontoeganklik, omdat daar geen psigiater, psigoloog en medikasie is om geestesieke gevangenes te behandel nie. Die meeste gesondheidspersoneel het rapporteer dat hulle oor ‘n gebrek aan selfvertroue en vaardigheid beskik om geestesieke gevangenes te help, want hulle dra geen kennis omtrent geestesiektes nie, omdat hulle nie daarvoor opgelei is nie Gevolgtrekking: Daar word minimale geestesgesondheidsdienste in die Maseru gevangenis verskaf, weens ‘n gebrek aan kennis en beskikbaarheid van gekwalifiseerde geestesgesondheidspersoneel. Dit is duidelik dat geestesgesondheidsdienste wêreldwyd ‘n probleem is, wat Lesotho insluit. Dit is dus belangrik vir die ministerie van gesondheid om die tekorte aan geestesgesondheidspersoneel wat in Maseru se gevangenisse werk aan te spreek en die gaping van ‘n gebrek aan kennis te vernou, deur die beskikbare personeel aangaande geestesgesondheidskwessies op te lei.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105921
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