Purpose: The movement to develop and implement non-coercive alternatives in the provision of mental health care is gaining momentum globally. To strengthen the basis of potential interventions that will be contextually relevant, and to complement the body of literature which is largely from high-income settings, the current study sought to explore the suggestions of service users and providers in Nigeria on how to reduce the use of coercive measures in mental health settings. Methods: Semi-structured interviews with 30 mental health professionals and four focus group discussions among 30 service users from two psychiatric hospitals in Nigeria were conducted. The data were analyzed thematically with the aid of MAXQDA. Results: The suggestions proposed by service users and mental health professionals were within the broad themes of communication, policies and legislation, and increased resources. Service users felt that improved communication, home consultations, non-legal advocates and clear rules and legislation would reduce the use of coercion, while service providers suggested increased public mental health literacy, better interpersonal relationships with patients, increased resources for mental health care, more research on the topic and regulation of coercive measures. Conclusion: Many of the suggestions from this study reinforce strategies already in place to decrease coercion in other settings. However, additional recommendations that are relevant to the study setting, such as enhancing public mental health literacy, mental health legislation reform and increasing access to mental health services, deserve further consideration.
- Mental health professionals
- Service users