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Background: A sound mental health is the key component of health and the absence of mental health could create a great deal of burden to the functioning of a nation. As well the attitudes of the public towards mental health issues are important factors in fighting the stigma with mental disorders
Aim: To investigate the Saudi people level of mental health literacy and attitudes regarding mental disorders and those affected people.
Participants and Methods: A descriptive cross sectional survey was used and a convenient sample of 255 subjects from general Saudi population attending to general public collections area, such as, shopping malls, universities, and restaurants in Jeddah city. The tool consisted of sociodemographic data sheet and self-administered checklist developed by Kumar et al., 2012 for assessing the attitude and awareness level of public towards mental disorders.
Results: A total of 255 people were interviewed. Most of the respondents 66.3% were females and the majority of the studied population have little awareness and had negative attitude toward the nature of mental illness as well 72.2% indicted that Evil Spirit causing mental illness. Negative attitude responses were ranging from 47 -57% regarding stigmatization, after effect and treatment.
Conclusion and recommendations: the findings concluded that there was a decreased level of mental health literacy among studied population as well as negative attitudes and stigmatization of mental illness. Therefore, more work needs to be done to educate the public about the psychobiological underpinnings of psychiatric disorders and the value of effective treatments.
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