34% of Saudis are diagnosed with mental health disorders as per Saudi National Mental Health Survey
Labayh Saudi platform exceeded one million users of ‘Your Mental Health Matters More’ initiative to raise awareness and address mental illness stigma
As part of enhancing technology’s role in mental health in Saudi Arabia, Labayh, a KSA based platform for psychotherapy, has launched an initiative named ‘Your Mental Health Matters More’ to provide self assessment of the most common mental diseases, including anxiety and depression, at no cost to its users.
The Saudi National Mental Health Survey reported that 10 million persons above 18 year old suffer from more than one type of addiction or mental disorder. It explains that 34% of Saudis were diagnosed with mental disorders during a certain period of their lives. The most common disorders in the Kingdom are separation anxiety disorder, and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
A survey on mental health has shown that 75% of chronic mental illnesses arise at the age of 24, whereas 50% of the mental disorders arise before the age of 14. 1 of 5 adults suffer from one of these disorders. 25% of patients have been caught in the dilemma of being made to either choose daily essentials or pay for mental health care.
Co-founder and CEO of Labayh, Bassem Albeladi highlighted the importance of mounting education and awareness campaigns of mental health that target different age groups for members of community.
“Until this day, stigma of psychotherapy is still dominating the thoughts of many, as statistics show that 52% of those in need of psychological care have taken the decision to overcome such illnesses by themselves instead of duly seeking psychological care,” he said.
‘Your Mental Health Matters More’ initiative aims to promote early diagnosis of mental health illnesses. This goes in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) member states commitment to implement the Action Plan 2013-2030 not to mention the Saudi Vision 2030 to help enhance mental health.
Labayh reflects an effort to provide mental health services and comprehensive and integrated social care in community environments. Furthermore, it directs much attention to mental health issues and problems encountered by members of the community, since mental health is an integral part of public health.
“Labayh has 1.2 million users to date. More than 345,000 users have taken anxiety test, according to the data from users’ answers of the self-assessment in the application. Anxiety levels are classified into mild, moderate and severe. The majority of results of 230,000 users were near to “severe anxiety” level. Regarding depression, roughly 417,000 users took the test, where data revealed that roughly 118,000 users were at “high risk of depression,” said Albeladi.
He added that Labayh team are working diligently to control the spread of negative psychological phenomena recently witnessed in societies, and change the wrong understanding of concepts by eliminating the mental illness stigma. “Accordingly, Labyeh provides its users the potential to face mental health-related challenges through innovative tool. That will help them pursue a positive lifestyle and engaging the role of technology in our lives,” he added.
Labayh’s Executive Director of Technology and Development, Mazen Rukayni, added: “In the few past years, Labayh has made a profound, tangible change in mental health, as huge progress has been achieved to enhance the society. We have been using the platform to update guidelines and develop new tools to enhance mental health, which would enable early diagnosis of symptoms of different mental illnesses. It will give access to those who wish to offer assistance and those who are required to made a decision to undergo psychotherapy that would better change one’s own life. It raises awareness of mental health and challenges the society’s stigma, providing mental health services and comprehensive and integral social care.”
He adds that depression and anxiety are the most common disorders causing productivity loss of nearly $1 trillion annually. In addition, governments allocated less than 2% of their budgets for mental health. Therefore, we provide a set of online checklist that initially help people to evaluate their status and assess their current symptoms. That will help specialists to better provide their services.
Rukayni pointed out that Labayh’s plan is to enrich the Arabic content of mental health, in order to raise awareness and help people entertain hope and enhance lifestyle. ‘Your Mental Health Matters More’ initiative of Labyeh is considered a significant and determined step towards promoting positivity and optimism among citizens of the Kingdom, with a view to support mental health in different age groups. It highlights the significant role of initiatives and programs concerned with mental health and instilling the culture of recovery from mental disorders, as well as rehabilitation that contributes to upgrading the citizens’ quality of life and facing changes that occurs in societies.