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Mental health and stigma in Saudi Arabia: a scoping review

Nada Alattar (School of Health Sciences, Queen’s Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK)
Anne Felton (Department of Health and Allied Professions, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK)
Theodore Stickley (School of Health Sciences, Queen’s Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK)

Mental Health Review Journal

ISSN: 1361-9322

Article publication date: 1 March 2021

Issue publication date: 27 May 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

Stigma associated with mental health problems is widespread in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Consequently, this may prevent many Saudi people from accessing the mental health-care services and support they need. The purpose of this study is to consider how stigma affects people needing to access mental health services in the KSA. To achieve this aim, this study reviews the knowledge base concerning stigma and mental health in KSA and considers specific further research necessary to increase the knowledge and understanding in this important area.

Design/methodology/approach

This review examines the relevant literature concerning mental health stigma and related issues in KSA using the Arksey and O'Malley and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses frameworks. As a scoping review, it has used a systematic approach in literature searching. The results of the search were then thematically analysed and the themes were then discussed in light of the concepts of stigma and mental health.

Findings

Stigma around mental health impedes access to care, the nature of care and current clinical practice in the KSA. The voices of those with mental health issues in KSA are almost entirely unrepresented in the literature.

Originality/value

The review identifies that mental health stigma and cultural beliefs about mental health in KSA may act as barriers to accessing services. The voice of mental health service users in KSA remains largely unheard. If public discussion of mental health issues can increase, people’s experiences of accessing services may be improved.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors are thankful to the Deanship of Scientific Research, College of Nursing Research Centre at King Saud University for supporting this research.Funding: The authors are thankful to the Deanship of Scientific Research, College of Nursing Research Centre at King Saud University for funding this research.Authors’ contributions: This study is from doctoral research conducted by the first author and supervised by the second and third authors. Each author had made a significant contribution to this study.Declarations.Ethics approval and consent to participate: No ethical issues were encountered in the process of this research, and research ethics were not required as this was a library-based study.Consent for publication: All authors fully consent to the publication of this article.Availability of data and materials: All data and material are available.Competing interests: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Citation

Alattar, N., Felton, A. and Stickley, T. (2021), "Mental health and stigma in Saudi Arabia: a scoping review", Mental Health Review Journal, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 180-196. https://doi.org/10.1108/MHRJ-08-2020-0055

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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