The Impact of Cultural Beliefs on Mental Health: A World View From Selected Communities in Western Kenya
Mental health has been discussed in several accounts, especially from the western worldview. It has always existed even before civilization. The main objective of this paper is to assess the impact of cultural beliefs on mental health among selected communities in Western Kenya. This paper was guided by the social psychology theory which posits that social influences, perception and interaction are vital in understanding social behaviour (Krech & Crutchfield, 1948). The paper adopted the descriptive survey design to present data thus studying the situation as it is in an attempt to explain it (Hancock, Ockleford & Windridge, 2001). The sampling techniques were Purposive which was used to select the specialists. The study instruments were the interview schedule, Focus Group Discussion and Document review. The validity of the instruments was established through content validity by experts from Masinde Muliro University Science and Technology (MMUST). This paper established that cultural beliefs have both a negative and positive impact on mental health in the sense that anxiety and trauma from broken taboos and norms led to mental illness whereas the performance of rituals brought about peace and psychological contentment, hence, mental health. This paper recommends that cultural beliefs which lead to mental health should be preserved for the particular purpose. This paper shall add more information to the existing pool of knowledge.
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