Perceived barriers on utilization of mental health services among adults in Dodoma Municipality – Tanzania

Document Type



School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa



The purpose of this paper is to determine perceived barriers to utilization of mental health services among adults in Dodoma Municipality, Tanzania. To improve the use of mental health services, identifying related perceived barriers is a key step.


A concurrent mixed method model was used. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews (n=152) using a structured survey questionnaire. In addition in-depth interviews were conducted (n=10). The quantitative data were analyzed by using Epi info version 2002. Content analysis was used for analyzing qualitative data.


The majority of respondents opted to use modern mental health facilities for mental illness treatment. They also used spiritual healing and other forms traditional methods including herbal medicines. The most frequently identified causes of mental illness were: drug abuse, being cursed and witchcraft, demons or evil spirit possession. The reported significant perceived barriers were stigma, economic, lack of transport, witchcraft, lack of awareness of mental health services, unemployment, and negative believes about professional cure.


The option for mental health service utilization is influenced by the existing barriers on community and clients’ perception. There is a need for mental health professionals and policy makers to integrate mental health into primary care. Mutual sharing of knowledge between mental health professionals and tradition healers is warranted. Further research on the attitudes toward mental health professional services and on effectiveness of traditional healers’ services is indicated.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Public Mental Health

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.