Global & Disaster Medicine

Human Rights Abuse: People with severe mental disorders endure abuse around the world, caged, warehoused in institutions, and imprisoned.

NY Times

“….Drug treatment, mostly for psychosis, blunted day-to-day symptoms of hallucinations and delusional thinking. But it did not reduce the length of time people were held in chains at the camp.…”

British Journal of Psychiatry

“Care of people with serious mental illness in prayer camps in low-income countries generates human rights concerns and ethical challenges for outcome researchers.

To ethically evaluate joining traditional faith healing with psychiatric care including medications (Clinical trials.gov identifier NCT02593734).

Residents of a Ghana prayer camp were randomly assigned to receive either indicated medication for schizophrenia or mood disorders along with usual prayer camp activities (prayers, chain restraints and fasting) (n = 71); or the prayer camp activities alone (n = 68). Masked psychologists assessed Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) outcomes at 2, 4 and 6 weeks. Researchers discouraged use of chaining, but chaining decisions remained under the control of prayer camp staff.

Total BPRS symptoms were significantly lower in the experimental group (P = 0.003, effect size –0.48). There was no significant difference in days in chains…..”


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