Knowledge and Awareness Regarding Mental Health and Barriers to Seeking Psychiatric Consultation in Saudi Arabia


  • IMAM Mohammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Department of Public Health, College of Medicine, Riyadh, Riyadh Province, Saudi Arabia


The Middle Eastern region, in general and Saudi Arabia, in specific, suffers from a large burden of mental illness. People’s positive attitudes and correct perceptions towards mental illness and their willingness to seek help when needed can help in reducing such burden. To determine the knowledge, attitudes and perceptions of the Saudi population toward mental illness and health services and to understand the barriers that affect the people’s willingness to seek psychiatric help when needed. A convenient sample of Saudi population of either sex was included in the study. A structured questionnaire was used to assess knowledge, attitudes and perceptions on mental health and the willingness to seek psychiatric help through multi-approach methods. Logistic regression was used to determine factors that were associated with not willing to seek psychiatric help, adjusting for other factors in the model. A total of 5644 participants (49.5% males) participated. About 87% were unaware about psychiatric services available in the kingdom, 85% reported that social factors were responsible for mental illnesses, about a quarter of them reported that they wouldn’t seek psychiatric help when needed and about half felt ashamed about it. Male gender, >20 years age group, not knowing whether a relative is suffering from mental illness and not knowing about the services provided by psychiatric health services in the kingdom were significantly associated with not willing to seek psychiatrist consultation when needed. A number of gaps were identified in the people’s knowledge about mental illness. Anti-stigma campaigns and evidence-based mental health educational programs should be implemented to enable people to reduce stigma and seek early mental health care.


Awareness, Barriers, Educational Programs, Knowledge, Mental Health, Saudi Arabia, Treatment-Seeking

Subject Discipline

mental health

Full Text:


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