Abstract: Objective: The objective of the study was to evaluate the social treatment of the mentally ill by the community in Bungoma County, Kenya. Design. The study was a descriptive cross-sectional study and Quantitative methods were adopted. Setting. The study was carried out in Bungoma County Sample. Five Sub-Counties in Bungoma County were purposively sampled to increase the representation. The household’s heads were sampled by stratified sampling; the researcher divided the population into strata and drew a predetermined number using simple random sampling (n = 396) Analysis. Data was analyzed through descriptive statistics, Independent samples’ T-test and One-way analysis of variance. Main outcome measures. Social treatment of the mentally ill Results. Majority of the respondents 248 (62.6 %) agreed that even after a person with mental illness has been treated, they would still be afraid to be around them. Majority of the respondents 232 (58.6 %) disagreed that mental patients should not be treated in the same hospital as other patients. Of the 396 respondents, 280 (70.7 %) of the respondents agreed that when a spouse is mentally ill the law should allow for other spouse to file a divorce. Majority 244 (61.6 %) of the respondents agreed that mental illness is a punishment for doing some bad things. The ANOVA model showed significant differences in social treatment amongst respondents of different age groups F (3, 372) = 9.403, p <0.01 and marital categories F (4, 375) = 8.038, p <0.01Conclusion. It’s evident from the findings that there is minimum interaction between the community and mentally ill people in Bungoma County, therefore the study recommends scaling up public awareness campaigns to reach more people by diversifying the approaches so as to make them aware of the impacts of stigmatization on the help seeking behavior of persons with mental illness.
Keywords: Mental health, Mental illness, Knowledge of mental illness, public knowledge, sensitization, stigma, myths of mental illness