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Table 3 Perceived causes of mental illness

From: Attitudes towards mental illness in Malawi: a cross-sectional survey

Causes of mental illness Percentage (number) holding belief Percentage (number) not holding belief
Drug or Alcohol misuse causes mental illness 95.7 (201) 4.3 (9)
Possession by evil spirits causes mental illness 82.8 (174) 17.1 (36)
Traumatic events or shock cause mental illness 76.1 (160) 23.8 (50)
Genetic/familial causes mental illness 47.6 (100) 52.4 (110)
God’s punishment causes mental illness 21.9 (46) 77.6 (163)
Brain Disease causes mental illness 92.8 (195) 7.1 (15)
Biological factors other than brain disease or genetic inheritance cause mental illness 32.8 (69) 67.1 (141)
Poverty causes mental illness 43.3 56.7