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mental derangement

Mental Disabilities / November 18, 2020

The scope of the present article is to describe the nature and extent of mental derangement as it occurs in African natives of Kenya; to compare the picture with the very different one which occurs in North American negroes and in Europeans; to explain the differences observed by reference to environmental factors; and to discuss the significance of our findings in regard to the eatiology of mental derangement in general.

The clinical material consist of 609 patients admitted to Mathari Mental Hospital during the 5-year period I January, 1939, to 31 December, 1943.

The article falls into eight parts:

  • First: A short summary of the historical background, to demonstrate that, until quite recently, the natives of the interior were untouched by alien influences.
  • Second: A short summary of the racial and anthropogical background. Kenya lies on a highway of Hamitic infiltration into Negro Africa, and every type from pure Negro to pure Hamite can to-day be seen. The five main racial and cultural groups are described.
  • Third: A short summary of the public health background. This is a description of the main public health problems in Kenya in so far as they differ from those found in Great Britain.
  • Fourth: A study of the facts of mental derangement as seen in admissions of new cases to the Mathari Mental Hospital. The facts are studied under five headings: (a) total incidence, (b) sex incidence, (c) racial incidence, (d) incidence in relation to detribalization, and (e) the types of mental derangement.
  • Fifth. Based on the studies undertaken in Part 4, the more striking peculiarities of mental derangement as compared with Europeans and American negroes are here tabulated.
  • Sixth: A description of African culture, thinking and attitude to life.
  • Seventh: An attempt to explain the peculiarities of mental derangement in the African listed in Part 5, largely with reference to the attitudes described in Part 6.
  • Eighth: This part attempts to review the picture as a whole, and to relate its essentials to a background of social and mental evolution in a frame of time —past, present and future.