Research Article
Volume 12 Issue 11 - 2020
Stigma in Mental Health: Perceptions and Attitudes of Saudi People towards Mental Illness
Abrar Al-Dawish1* and Saeed Wahass2*
1Clinical Psychologist, The National Neuroscience Institute, King Fahad Medical City, Saudi Arabia
2Associate Professor and Consultant Clinical Psychologist/Neuropsychologist, College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Saudi Arabia
*Corresponding Author: Abrar Al-Dawish, Clinical Psychologist, The National Neuroscience Institute, King Fahad Medical City, Saudi Arabia.
Received: October 18, 2020; Published: October 30, 2020


Background: People who have mental suffering may not strive to seek help from mental health professionals due to stigma, simultaneously when the social environment is stressed for mentally ill, because he/she is stigmatized by public, therefore getting relapses is inevitable. Moreover, successful psychological interventions are partly dependent on public beliefs about the etiology and treatment of mental difficulties and tolerance of community integration.

Aims and Objectives: This study aims at investigating perceptions and attitudes of Saudi community towards individuals with mental illness, which may help in improving outcomes of mental health services.

Materials and Methods: This study examined perceptions and public attitudes towards people with mental illnesses in Saudi Arabia (SA) concerning (a) causes of mental illnesses and the way they are treated and (b) levels of social distance. Responses were collected from a sample of 480 individuals, an on-line questionnaire was distributed through social media’s channels. Participants asked to respond to a questionnaire, which includes: beliefs related to causes and managements of mental illnesses and social distance, in additional to a sheet encompasses, demographical data.

Results: In terms of social distance, a majority of participants showed intolerance towards people with mental illnesses in different social situations. A proportion of them thought that mental illnesses can be caused by psychosocial stressors, God’s will and early bad experiences and then they can be treating by using both medications and psychotherapy, social support and religious therapy, less participants believed in merely biological backgrounds of mental illnesses (causes and therapies).

Conclusion: These results suggest that Saudi community is intolerant towards people who have mental illnesses and the level of stigma appears to be heightening, both causes and managements of mental illnesses are fallen on psychosocial backgrounds and less to biological explanations and therapies, which might explain negative attitudes they held towards mental illnesses on social distance. Programs targeting tackling stigma are recommended, at the same time, certain programs, aiming at boosting psychological awareness are needed.

Keywords: Saudi Community; Mental Illness; Perceptions and Attitudes; Stigma


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Citation: Abrar Al-Dawish and Saeed Wahass. “Stigma in Mental Health: Perceptions and Attitudes of Saudi People towards Mental Illness”. EC Neurology 12.11 (2020): 95-103.

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