Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University Saudi Arabia
Title: Stigma towards Mental Illness among Saudi Laypeople
Abrar AlMajed is from Riyadh the capital of Saudi Arabia, she had a bachelor degree in psychology from King Saud University, and now she is pursuing her master degree in clinical psychology from college of medicine, Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University. Abrar works as assistant psychologist at King Fahad Medical City. She had studied abroad for three years in the United States where she studied English as a second language and then had a chance to be an intern at mental hospital for four months in Wisconsin state. she chooses clinical psychology as career because she believes that psychological suffering can be reduced and quality of life can be enhanced. Her area of interest in research are stigma and cross-cultural studies. In the near future, Abrar hopes to start her own podcast to advocate people of Saudi about mental health and increase awareness.
Stigma is a perceived negative attribute that causes someone to devalue or think less of others. In mental health, stigma is resulting from negative attitudes people hold about mental ill and patients about themselves. Such attitudes might be publicised on social distances that could attribute symptoms of mental illness to misconceptions of causes and the way they can be treated. Stigma towards mental illness is a global phenomenon, it influences, on one hand seeking mental health services while they are needed, and on the other hand the way mental illness can be managed. Fighting for decreasing stigma has increasingly become a demand thru certain planned clinical, community and political procedures, aiming at “Destigmatisation”. Saudi society is not excluded, stigma is there, it might be more exacerbating due to social and cultural interpretations. Although health care system in Saudi is one of the best in the region, the field of mental illness is still a taboo. Whereas many people rarely hesitate to seek religious healers as the first line of treatment which they practice exorcism believing people psychological pain springs from demons, envy and witchcraft. Consequently, addressing stigma in Saudi is essential that cannot be denied. Aiming to decrease ignorance and increase people mental health and quality of life which usually get affected and the suffering get endured, hence that others do not stigmatize them.