The Arab World…Versus Mental Health

By: Maram Mohammed

Only adults are diagnosed with depression. Borderlines do not exist. Anxiety is overreacting. Visiting a psychologist makes you crazy. Mental institutions are bullshit.

That’s shamefully how mental issues are viewed. No one provides the attention needed.

Parents are always in denial that something may be seriously hurting their kid or that their emotions are valid.

“ what do they have to be sad about ? “

“Kolo le3b w 7owarat 3eyal” is what they often say.

What Everyone refuses to admit is what can ruin their offspring and society . Failing to treat mental issues is what creates murderers, thieves, and sociopaths.

It is not okay to ignore the symptoms. Mental illnesses are never cured with pills. It takes time, patience and professional guidance specified for every case in order for the person to feel better. We, as Arabs, need to wake up.

Parents need to listen , and be available whenever they are needed. Happiness and contentment  should always come first. Adults should also ask for help when they need it. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. If mental health wasn’t important, psychologists and psychiatrists wouldn’t have been a thing in the first place. It’s a whole field of study created to simply help people cope with their emotions.

    Sadly though, because of how ignorant we have become of mental health, Arab governments also have not prioritized it:

  • About 12 Arab countries have a mental health policy, but only 7 have updated it in the past 5 years. Yet,  these policies are not fully implemented.
  • Scarcity of human resources is also another example of how the governments neglect mental health awareness and facilities. On average there are 11 mental health professionals for every 100,000 Arab. This is much less than developed countries such as The USA , where there are 125 and 4411professionals for every 100,000 people.
  • In addition, medical practitioners (doctors and nurses) receive very little training on mental health. Many people with mental illness may thus go undiagnosed for years without receiving treatment.

In conclusion, mental disorders need to be recognized. They are not to be neglected. In order for us to create a developing and growing community, our mental health should be taken care of.




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