Assessing the Effects of People’s Misconception about Mental Retardation on Patients and Caregivers at Upper Denkyira West District of Ghana

Martin Agyei


Misconception about mental retardation seems to be widely endorsed by the general public. The aim of this research study was to assess assessing the effects of people’s misconception about mental retardation on patients and caregivers at Upper Denkyira West District of Ghana. A descriptive cross-sectional study was used integrating both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The study engaged purposive and Snowball sampling techniques to select the study population. The sample size for the study was 40 respondents consisting of heads of households in Diaso with a person who is mentally retarded within any age category and structured interview and observation were the research instrument. From the study findings, regarding respondents’ view in terms of what people think are the causes of their wards’ mental retardation, almost all the respondents consisting of 32 (80%) indicated spiritual cause, 6 (15%) respondents indicated medical cause whereas 2 (5%) respondents said physical cause. All the respondents 40 (100%) strongly agreed that they faced social stigma and discrimination and all the respondents 40 (100%) strongly agreed that they felt tired most of the time. Dealing with their expenditure on quarterly medical bills, 22(55%) respondents indicated that they spent GH 200-GH 400, 8 (20%) respondents said they spent GH 401-GH 601, 6 (15%) respondents said they spent above GH 601 whereas 4 (10%) respondents said they spent below GH 200. In terms of the mean expenditure on quarterly medical bill the mean is 2.40 with the standard deviation of .871. It therefore showed that caring for mentally retarded persons are time consuming. The study concluded that ignorance, cultural and religious beliefs of the people caused the misconception about mental retardation and this negatively affect the parents, caregivers and the victims themselves and recommended that Ministry of health and Ghana Health Service must implement health education on mental retardation to educate the general populace, mental nurses must be integrated to the various health centers, clinic and health post in order to provide health care services to persons and parents should be referred to clinical psychologist to manage stress of care giving in such parents/caregivers.

Keywords: Mental health, misconception, mental retardation, health policy

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