UAE Psychiatric Stigma Dropping


Fraser Clarke

The stigma surrounding mental illness in the UAE appears to be dropping, with a majority of residents in the Emirates now open to seeking support in the event of a mental health emergency.

According to a recently published YouGov survey, 62% of Emiratis would seek help from a medical professional in the event of an issue, whilst just 15% would now keep the problem to themselves.

Perhaps the most interesting findings related to what it would take for people to seek assistance - with figures across the board still concerningly low.

Data showed that only 62% of people in the Emirates would seek support for suicidal thoughts, dropping 61% if self-harm was involved, and 53% would look for assistance if they were experiencing the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Whilst these figures were all over half of respondents, those for other conditions remain far lower - with just 36% of people seeking professional assistance for eating disorders, and 43% for bipolar symptoms.

That makes incentives, such as Dubai Health Authority’s new programme targeting mental illness warning signs in those under the age of five, all the more vital in ensuring that the stigma drops in years to come.

World Health Organisation statistics show that the United Arab Emirates is home to the highest levels of depression in the Gulf region, with over 5% of the population openly suffering from the condition - with actual levels likely to be much higher.

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