The Arab World vs Mental Health

Writer: Maram Mohamed

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? “

 “It is all child’s play” is what they often say.

What Everyone refuses to admit is what can ruin their offspring and society. Failing to treat mental disorders 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 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 of. 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.


·         The scarcity of human resources is also another example of how 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 4411 professionals 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.

Conclusively, mental disorders need to be recognized and talked about a lot more. They are not to be neglected. For us to create a healthy community, our mental health should be taken care of and prioritized.