Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 664-669

Pathways to care among patients with severe mental disorders attending a tertiary health-care facility in Puducherry, South India


1 School of Public Health, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India
3 Department of Psychiatry, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Palanivel Chinnakali
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, 3rd Floor, JISPH Building, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research Campus, Dhanvantri Nagar, Gorimedu, Puducherry - 605 006
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_512_19

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Introduction: Pathways to care can be defined as the pathway adopted by the patient to reach the appropriate health facility. In India, health workforce related to mental health care is inadequate. Persons with mental disorders approach different types of care providers. This study describes the number, sequence of care providers visited, and time gap between providers among individuals newly diagnosed with severe mental disorders. Materials and Methods: We conducted a facility-based descriptive study in the psychiatric outpatient department of a tertiary care center in South India between April and September 2017. All patients with any of the following diagnosis; acute psychosis, depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia were included in the study. Information on number and sequence of care providers visited and the reasons for preference of providers were assessed using a validated World Health Organization questionnaire. Patients seeking care was summarized as numbers. Results: Of the total 150 participants, 86 (57%) were females and the mean (standard deviation) age was 35 (11.5) years. The first point of contact were traditional healers in 52 (34.7%) participants, general hospitals in 23 (15.3%), and psychiatric services in the remaining 75 (50%). The patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder had greater delays in accessing psychiatric care when compared to other disorders. Median (interquartile range) number of care providers visited till the diagnosis made was 2 (1–3). The availability and recommendation by close relatives were the major reasons for the preference of traditional healers. Conclusions: One-third of patients visited traditional healers as the first point of contact and about half visited the psychiatric facilities directly.



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