By PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today, 4 Oct 2010
One-fifth of people show symptoms of mental illnesses -- more commonly depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, say the Emirate's health officials.
The campaign has been jointly organised by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and the Community Development Authority (CDA) to observe the global mental health day, which falls on Oct.10.
Dr Asamarai elaborated, "The number of mental illness cases has been increasing quite shockingly over the past few years in the Emirate. Numerous factors such as workplace strain, anxieties over job security, problematic relationships, isolated life, unhealthy and irregular lifestyle, have contributed to the increase in mental health issues."
According to her, in-depth awareness mechanisms should be developed to alleviate the situation.
"One among every five residents in the Emirate is faced with mental health risks and psychological challenges in any given year," revealed the health officials, "Among the widespread symptoms of mental illnesses, more common are depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia."
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had estimated that depression will be the second leading cause of premature death or disability worldwide.
A couple of days ago, the UAE Ministry of Health (MoH) had revealed that mental disorders among mothers, children and adolescents in the region have emerged as a crucial public health issue.
"Among the mothers, an estimated rate of 15 to 36 per cent was suffering from mental disorders in the Gulf countries. Meanwhile, the rate is ten to 36 per cent among the children and adolescents," said Dr Mahmood Fikri, Executive Director for Health Practices at the MoH.
"The rates were shocking, as the mental challenges Middle East people faced were analysed as being stiffer than those faced by people in developed countries," he pointed out.
"The WHO's 57th regional conference currently on in Cairo, will discuss the alarming issue and would bring out strategies to be implemented to eliminate the stress of mental diseases among the region's people," added Dr Fikri.
Meanwhile, Dr Asamarai said that most of the mental problems among the residents were caused by employment-related stress. The role of genetic component, to cause the mental disorders were comparatively less, albeit it might multiple the symptoms coupled with the issues of work stress and globalisation.
"The stigma attached to mental health problems makes the patients reluctant to seek early advice from experts or timely treatment at a specialty centre. They think they would be alienated from the society, if their mental problems come to fore. Eventually, they plunge into deeper mental disorders," she added.
"Comprehensive awareness programmes can only save those who show symptoms of falling mentally sick. People have to be educated on methods of preventing depression through an engagement in various activities, and also on the importance of building up healthy relationships," noted Dr Asamarai.
(Image used for illustrative purpose)