QScience.com, the academic platform of HBKU Press, has recently published a research article exploring the negative effects of mental health stigma in Qatar, revealing how stigmas hinder mental health patients from seeking help and treatment.

Launched in September 2011, QScience.com is a peer-reviewed online publishing platform that offers a unique and collaborative research environment for academics and scholars in Qatar, the MENA and the rest of the world. QScience.com adopts the Open Access publishing model and hosts scholarly journals, conference proceedings, and ebooks to disseminate knowledge and understanding of scientific, social, political and health-related subjects while adhering to international publishing standards.

According to Dr Rima J Isaifan, Head of Academic and Journals Publishing at HBKU Press, the impact of publishing this type of article is critical, as it bring to light less addressed issues with the local and global audience.

We thrive to set our multidisciplinary QScience Connect journal at the level where valid, ethical, and impactful research is perceived by the broadest possible audience without barriers.’

The article, Stigma towards mental disorders in Qatar: a qualitative study, written by researchers at the University of Calgary in Qatar and the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, investigates a previously taboo subject matter that is only just being openly discussed and explored in the region.

Mental health stigma has been studied extensively in Western countries, but has received very little research attention in the Middle East, according to Dr Jason Hickey, Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton (PhD).

It is important to study mental illness stigma in Qatar in order to support the Ministry of Public Health in its efforts to provide world-class care to people (in Qatar) who suffer from mental illness.’

Through extensive interviews with several outpatients from mental health clinics, the research assesses how society views people with mental illness, the experience of receiving a mental illness diagnosis, and how mental illness and the stigma towards mental illness affects daily life.

According to the research cited in the article, 36.6% of adults receiving healthcare from Primary Health Care Centers in Qatar met the diagnostic criteria for at least one mental illness, with depression being the most commonly diagnosed disorder, followed by anxiety disorders. Yet, many people do not receive the treatment needed to manage mental illness due to the stigma around the topic. In many cases, it is reported that the stigma is seen as devastating as the illness itself and a major barrier to sufferers seeking treatment.

The researchers hope that the study will assist policymakers, educators, and providers, in developing appropriate response to the mental health stigma.  Dr Hickey said that in the future, he would like to see Qatar develop programmes that help people with mental illness. He said that more than anything, what these people need is an opportunity to contribute to their family and community.

You can access the article at QScience.com. You can also browse thousands of other academic journals, conference proceedings and books, available free to the public.