Updated: Apr 25, 2021
The mentally ill putted off treatment because of stigma.
The National UAE newspaper expresses how stigma can affect mental health patients. According to health experts, the prejudice and stigma that the community surrounds mental illness make the patients find difficulties in seeking help in the early stages. People might convert their mental symptoms to psychical disease because of the stigma surrounding mental health. The article illustrates that people are unaware of the symptoms and referring them to religious reasons. At the same time, it's about the person's lifestyle and decisions.
Mental illness is taboo and is often blamed on a lack of religion. Some people considered depression to be a sign of evil spirits or possession, and they would resort to homemade remedies to try to get rid of it (2009). As an Emirati woman, I see such an attitude from my family when I asked to visit a psychologist. They blame me for lack of religion while it was about my experiences that I faced in my life and the lousy discussion that I made a couple of years ago.
Jennifer Bell shows surveys about the stigma surrounding mental health in the middle east. 31% of Arabs know someone suffering from mental health issues, while the percentage of
people with a mental disorder who never seek help from professionals is 66%. Moreover, 450 million people have a mental illness, while the World Health Organization said that 154 million people suffered from depression but a few percentages seeking therapy. These numbers can show a lack of support from governments and communities because they are ashamed to address such a sensitive topic. Simultaneously, the numbers are still increasing day after day because people do not see visiting a therapist as the solution.