The community of Ntwane lives in a small village unknown to many people. Like
most communities, its people are faced with challenges which require the
intervention of a multidisciplinary team in order to enhance their quality of life. The
prevalence of mental illness, as reported by community members, is high and
knowledge in this regard is minimal. This study, which explored the cultural beliefs of
families affected by mental illness, was informed by the prevalence of mental illness,
as well as a concern regarding the lack of education and knowledge on mental
illness. The community members fail to recognise the influence of culture on their
beliefs regarding mental illness. Mental illness is viewed as being caused by
elements such as witchcraft and supernatural forces, yet culture is not seen as
influencing this belief.
The goal of this study was to explore and describe caregivers perspectives on the
cultural beliefs regarding mental illness of families affected in the small village of
Ntwane. The cultural beliefs of families affected by mental illness were explored
using snowball sampling. The research approach utilised in this study is qualitative
as it sought to gain an understanding through rich, insightful information. A total of
twelve participants were drawn from this community with the caregiver representing
The findings of the study indicated that there were cultural influences on the view of
mental illness in the study community. Witchcraft, punishment for failing to appease the ancestors, as well as supernatural forces and the abnormal movement of blood
were perceived to be the causes of mental illness in the community.
The study concludes that culture does in fact inform views of mental illness in the
study community. The study proposes the need for community education in order to
enhance the mental wellness of community members. An education system catering
to the needs of individuals with a mental illness is also needed. Specialised mental
health services within the reach of community members is also seen as vital and
needed in this community.
Mini Dissertation (MSW)--University of Pretoria, 2016.