Introduction: The pathway to care in psychiatry consists of a detailed and systematic description of sources of care used by the patients before seeking help from mental health professionals (MHPs).
Aim: To qualitatively evaluate the experiences of patients during various pathways taken by them through thematic analysis.
Materials and methods: This study was conducted at the Department of Psychiatry of Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Puducherry. Those who had more than two encounters in the quantitative study were invited to participate. Interviews were conducted ensuring privacy, comfort, and confidentiality. Themes were analyzed using inductive coding method from the in-depth interviews.
Results: Themes related to participant's understanding about the illness, first symptom that triggered initiation, nature of encounters, reasons attributed by patients and healers, and remedies done were found. Some of the remedies prescribed by the traditional healers (THs) were violent and horrific.
Conclusion: This study throws light into the understanding of the pathways taken by psychiatric patients in South India and the need to promote awareness among general public including the magicoreligious healers.
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