Author(s): Sadik S, Bradley M, AlHasoon S, Jenkins R
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Abstract BACKGROUND: People who suffer from mental illness, the professionals who treat them, and indeed the actual concept of mental illness are all stigmatised in public perception and often receive very negative publicity. This paper looks at Iraq, which has a population of 30 million who are mainly Moslem. Mental health services and professionals have historically been sparse in Iraq with 1 psychiatrist per 300,000 before 2003 falling to 1 per million until recently and 1 primary care centre (40 Healthcare Workers including 4 General Practitioners) to 35,000 population, compared with 1 GP per 1700 population in the UK. METHODS: We aimed to assess public attitudes and perceptions to mental illness. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire (additional file 1), which was designed specifically for Iraqi contexts and was made available in 2 languages. The survey was carried out in 500 participants' homes across 2 districts of Baghdad. RESULTS: The response rate of the survey was 86.4\%. The paper shows respondents views on the aetiology of mental illness, perceptions of people with mental illness and attitudes towards care and treatment of people with mental illness. CONCLUSIONS: This survey of public attitudes towards mental illness in Iraq has shown that community opinion about the aetiology of mental illness is broadly compatible with scientific evidence, but understanding of the nature of mental illness, its implications for social participation and management remains negative in general.
This article was published in Int J Ment Health Syst
and referenced in Journal of Depression and Anxiety