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The Perceptions, Knowledge, And Attitudes Of Imo State University Students Toward Mental Health Disorders




The study design employed is a cross-sectional approach. Data was collected at a single point in time, providing insights into the students’ perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes regarding the subject matter. The area of study is imo state university, owerri. The population of study includes active students of imo state university, owerri above 18 years willing to participate. sample size of 424 was used and was determined using standard normal variate. The findings of this study revealed that. The students generally displayed good knowledge and positive attitudes toward mental disorders and their treatment. However, some of them maintained negative perceptions regarding how to approach an individual with a mental disorder, which resulted in doubt and fear. Differences in age, education level, and faculty affiliation were associated with knowledge of mental disorders. Based on the findings, recommendation were made, To increase university students’ awareness of their mental health, gaining insight into the gaps in perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes regarding mental health disorders and how they are treated is needed. Perceptions and attitudes are two factors that affect an individual’s everyday life. Awareness programs and campaigns focusing on mental health disorders and their treatment must be implemented to increase students’ perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes. Social media can also be considered to disseminate information on mental health as well as prevention efforts.





Mental health disorders continue to be a significant global concern, affecting individuals of all ages and backgrounds. In recent years, there has been an increased focus on understanding and addressing mental health issues, particularly among university students. The transition to university life can be a period of significant change and stress, making students vulnerable to mental health challenges.

The Nigerian university student population is particularly vulnerable to mental health disorders due to the stress associated with academic work, social pressures, and financial constraints. Adeosun et al. (2018) conducted a study that found the prevalence of depressive symptoms among undergraduate students of a Nigerian university to be 49.3%, with anxiety being another prevalent disorder. The study also found that there was a lack of awareness and understanding of mental health disorders and their treatment options among the students.

The findings of this study highlight the urgent need for mental health awareness campaigns and interventions targeted towards Nigerian university students. Such interventions could include mental health education programs, counselling services, and support groups. By addressing the mental health needs of Nigerian university students, we can help create a healthier and more productive student population, which will ultimately contribute to the development of the country as a whole.

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A mental health disorder, also referred to as a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a condition that affects a person’s thoughts, emotions, behaviour, and overall mental well-being (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013). It involves disturbances in thinking, mood, perception, or behaviour that result in significant distress or impaired functioning in various areas of life, such as work, relationships, and daily activities.

Mental health disorders encompass a wide range of conditions, each with its unique symptoms, causes, and treatment approaches. Some common types of mental health disorders include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and eating disorders, among others (National Institute of Mental Health [NIMH], n.d.). These conditions can vary in severity, duration, and impact on an individual’s life.

The etiology of mental health disorders is complex and involves a combination of genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental factors (APA, 2013). Biological factors may include imbalances in brain chemistry or changes in brain structure. Psychological factors can involve past traumas, unresolved conflicts, or maladaptive thought patterns. Environmental factors, such as traumatic events, chronic stress, or substance abuse, can also contribute to the development of mental health disorders.

It is important to note that mental health disorders are medical conditions that require appropriate diagnosis, treatment, and support (APA, 2013). They are not character flaws or signs of weakness. Seeking professional help from mental health practitioners, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, or counselors, can aid in understanding, managing, and treating mental health disorders effectively. With proper diagnosis and support, individuals with mental health disorders can lead fulfilling lives and achieve overall well-being.

In Nigeria, where mental health is often stigmatized and underprioritized, it is crucial to investigate the knowledge, attitude, and perception of mental health disorders and their treatment among university students. By understanding the perspectives and beliefs held by this specific demographic, effective strategies can be developed to promote mental health well-being and provide appropriate support.

Numerous studies have explored the knowledge, attitude, and perception of mental health disorders in various populations. A study by Atilola and Steyn (2012) revealed a lack of awareness and misconceptions about mental health issues among Nigerian undergraduate students. Similarly, a survey conducted by Abdulmalik et al. (2017) among Nigerian medical students found limited knowledge and negative attitudes towards mental health disorders.

However, the landscape of mental health awareness and support has evolved since these studies were conducted. With the growing recognition of mental health as a public health priority, it is essential to revisit and expand our understanding of the knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions among university students in Imo state university.

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With the advent of colonialism in Nigeria, Western medical practices and concepts began to influence the perception and management of mental health disorders. European medical professionals introduced the biomedical model, emphasizing biological causes and treatment of mental illnesses. Mental health institutions were established, primarily focusing on custodial care rather than therapeutic interventions.


Despite the growing awareness of mental health disorders globally, there is limited understanding of the specific knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions towards mental health disorders and their treatment among students in Imo state University. This knowledge gap hinders the development and implementation of effective mental health support systems tailored to the unique needs of this student population. Understanding the specific challenges, misconceptions, and barriers that students in Imo state University face in relation to mental health disorders and their treatment is essential for designing targeted interventions and promoting a supportive campus environment.

Knowledge Gap: There is a lack of comprehensive knowledge about mental health disorders among students in Imo state University. Many students may have limited awareness of the various types of mental health disorders, their symptoms, and the available treatment options. This knowledge gap can contribute to stigma, misconceptions, and the underutilization of mental health services.

Attitudes and Perceptions: The attitudes and perceptions of students towards mental health disorders play a crucial role in determining help-seeking behaviours and the overall support provided to individuals experiencing mental health challenges. Negative attitudes, stereotypes, and a lack of empathy towards mental health disorders can create barriers to seeking help and hinder the establishment of a supportive campus culture.

Barriers to Treatment: Students in Imo state University may face specific barriers when accessing mental health treatment. These barriers can include financial constraints, lack of awareness about available services, stigma associated with seeking help, concerns about confidentiality, and a shortage of mental health professionals within university settings. Addressing these barriers is essential to ensure that students receive timely and appropriate care.

Campus Environment: The campus environment plays a crucial role in shaping the mental well-being of students. Factors such as academic pressure, social stressors, isolation, and inadequate support systems can contribute to the development or exacerbation of mental health disorders among students. Understanding the specific challenges within the Imo state University context is vital for creating a supportive environment that promotes positive mental health and well-being.


1.3.1 Aim

The aim of the study is to comprehensively understand the perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes of Imo State University students toward mental health disorders. This study aims to contribute valuable insights that can inform targeted interventions and awareness programs, fostering a more informed and empathetic campus community with respect to mental health issues.

  1. To assess the level of knowledge of students in Imo State University towards mental health disorder,
  2. To understand their attitudes and perceptions
  3. To identify help-seeking behaviours, examine knowledge of available treatment options and Identify barriers to seeking treatment
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There is no significant difference in the level of awareness among Imo State University students regarding various mental health disorders across different demographic groups.


Mental health disorders are a significant concern among university students globally, and Nigeria is no exception. Research suggests that students often face unique stressors related to academic pressure, social adjustment, and personal challenges, which can contribute to the development or exacerbation of mental health disorders. Understanding the knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of students towards mental health is crucial for addressing these concerns effectively. There is a lack of comprehensive understanding and awareness of mental health disorders among students in Nigerian universities. This knowledge gap may perpetuate stigma, lead to misconceptions, and hinder help-seeking behaviours. By conducting research on the topic, we can identify specific areas of knowledge that need improvement and work towards reducing the stigma associated with mental health disorders. Early identification and intervention are key factors in managing mental health disorders effectively. By studying the knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of students, we can identify barriers that prevent early intervention and explore strategies to overcome them. This can lead to timely support and treatment, potentially reducing the negative impact of mental health disorders on students’ academic performance, personal lives, and overall well-being. Imo state university can benefit from having targeted interventions and support systems that address the specific needs and challenges faced by students regarding mental health. Understanding students’ attitudes and perceptions can guide the development of initiatives such as mental health awareness campaigns, counselling services, peer support programs, and resource allocation to enhance mental health support within the university settings.


This research work covered a vital contribute to the creation of a supportive campus environment that promotes positive mental health and well-being among students using a cross-sectional study which measures perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes of Imo State university students using convenience sampling through a self-administered questionnaire.

Pages:  55

Category: Project

Format:  Word & PDF               

Chapters: 1-5                                          

Source: Imsuinfo

Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.


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