Muscat – To mark the World Mental Health Day, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has urged people who face psychological issues not to be shy about consulting a psychiatrist.
The theme of the World Mental Health Day 2022, which is observed on October 10 every year, as set by the World Federation for Mental Health is ‘Make mental health for all a global priority’.
According to an official of MoH, many people struggling with mental health issues don’t get help because they are ashamed and don’t know that there are professionals and treatment for their help.
The World Health Organization has reported an increase in the prevalence of mental disorders. One in eight people had a mental disorder in 2019. Anxiety and depression were the most common types of mental disorders.
‘Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were a lot more people in 2020 who had anxiety and depression disorders and in just one year, the numbers went up by 26 per cent and 28 per cent, respectively,’ a WHO report said.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Dr Hamad al Sinawi, chairman of Oman Alzheimer’s Society and consultant psychiatrist in the Department of Behavioural Medicine at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, said, “Some people are ashamed to visit a psychiatrist because they think that a mentally ill person is a crazy person and he has weak faith.”
About the spread of mental illness, he said, “Unfortunately, there are some reasons such as the lack of specialised psychiatrists in Oman and the lack of psychiatric clinics in remote areas. There are also some misconceptions about psychiatric treatment. Some people believe psychiatric drugs cause addiction, which is not true.
“Unfortunately, some also consider a mentally ill person as a person with envy or delusions. Some patients also turn to non-professionals or come late for treatment.”
Urging people to seek help, he said, “People must realise that mental illness is a disease like any other disease, such as blood pressure and diabetes.”
Dr Sinawi also advised people to avoid frustrating news and rumours. “Scientific studies have shown a relationship between the psychological state of an individual and his physical immunity; people who enjoy good mental health have better immunity and vice versa.”
He also informed that those suffering from anxiety can request psychological counselling from specialists through virtual clinics that allow them to speak with a doctor or psychotherapist via video conferencing within safe programmes that preserve the privacy of patients.