Introduction In Saudi Arabia, cases of mental health disorders are quite rampant

Introduction

In Saudi Arabia, cases of mental health disorders are quite rampant (Al Mutair et al., 2020). These cases represent a fifth of the primary healthcare services offered in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Despite the rising number of cases, there is a lot of social stigma surrounding the issue and various doubts that are cast by the citizens of the country on the legitimacy of mental health issues (Aljasim, 2016). The widespread cases of mental health issues are partly attributed to the beliefs and cultures of the Saudi people. The culture of stigmatization has led to the poor quality of mental healthcare provision by service users in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Alyousef, 2016). Moreover, this has made the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to lag behind other developed nations in advancing ethical principles concerning the safeguarding of service user rights and the professional nursing conduct (Mousa et al., 2020). Furthermore, the country’s legislation has failed to meet the international standards that concern patient capacity with the lack of the establishment of a review body. This has made the mechanisms that have been put in place to protect the human rights of psychiatric patients to be insufficient. Despite the stigmatization among the general public on mental health issues, there is a stigma by mental health professionals on people with mental health issues in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Their mannerisms towards mental health patients is attributed to their personal beliefs.

The surge of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the cases of mental health problems in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The crisis of the pandemic had caused a lot of stress on the world population and governmental institutions. As the virus continued to spread, governments had to put more stringent measures such as social distancing and self-isolation. Schools and universities had to be closed and all social gatherings such as mosques had to be suspended. The nationwide lockdown and other measures proved to be quite stressful to most of Saudi Arabia’s citizens. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the COVID-19 pandemic has been marked by severe anxiety, depression, psychosis, and delirium. This is because there has been an increase in fear, sleep cycle disruptions, increased substance abuse, and excess worry for one’s life. Furthermore, a lot of misinformation on the pandemic and exaggeration by the media increases pressure on people in society which increases the cases of mental health disorders. Alhadi et al (2021) suggest that the vulnerable groups in Saudi Arabia are more susceptible to mental health problems during the pandemic since they are unable to get sufficient healthcare service.

Moreover, the state of mental health of healthcare personnel during the pandemic was neglected. The healthcare workers in the country constantly exposed themselves to the risk of infection and isolated themselves from their family members to prevent the transmission of the virus (Ammari et al., 2021). There was a low percentage of healthcare workers who report mental health issues such as anxiety, insomnia, and depression. The long working hours and scarcity of personal protective equipment (PPE) also increased the amount of stress on healthcare workers. The risk factors for depression among healthcare workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia include staying with family members, nationality, and working from secluded spaces. Employers can help to reduce the healthcare cost of their businesses by addressing mental health problems at the workplace. Employees are often negatively affected by stress and poor mental health in their work performance, communication with fellow co-workers, and engagement in work. Various studies have explored the psychological and mental impact of the pandemic on the general public of Saudi Arabia. The aim of the paper is to analyze the mental health in Saudi Arabia and the measures taken by the Kingdom to solve the problem.

References

Al Mutair A, Alhajji M, & Shamsan A. (2020). Emotional Well-being in Saudi Arabia during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A National Survey. Retrieved from; https://www.dovepress.com/emotional-wellbeing-in-saudi-arabia-during-the-covid-19-pandemic-a-nat-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-RMHP.

Alhadi, A et al. (2021). Mental health and its association with coping strategies and intolerance of uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic among the general population in Saudi Arabia: a cross-sectional study. Retrieved from; https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-021-03370-4

Aljasim, N. (2016). The stigma of Mental Health in Saudi Arabia. (n.p.): Notre Dame de Namur University.

Alyousef, S. M. (2016). The Extent of Mental Health Professional Stigma on People with Mental Health Problems in Saudi Arabia. United Kingdom: University of Salford.

Ammari, M et al. (2021). Mental Health Outcomes Amongst Health Care Workers During COVID 19 Pandemic in Saudi Arabia. Retrieved from; https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.619540/full

Mousa, Y et al (2020). Saudi service users’ perceptions and experiences of the quality of their mental health care providers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA): A qualitative inquiry. Retrieved from; https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/inm.12784