Mental illness in Saudi Arabia: an overview
Adel F Almutairi
Population Health Research Section, King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC), Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
While I was reading on this topic, I came across an online article attributed to a Saudi psychologist that contained information about mental illness among the Saudi population. What really struck me right away was the estimate that was given for the number of mentally ill people in the country. It was claimed that about half of the Saudi population is suffering from mental illness.1 This made me wonder on what grounds the psychologist was basing the claim and how she came up with this scary statistic. If the figure was based on an empirical study, what was the sample size and how robust was the research? Unfortunately, no details were given to answer these questions. Nevertheless, such an alarming figure was the main impetus and driving force for me to write this article and provide readers with an overview of the magnitude of mental illness in the world, and more specifically, in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, based on recent literature. This article also provides perspectives of scientists working at King Abdullah International Medical Research Center, on how we intend to tackle this issue.
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