There’s still a huge stigma surrounding mental illness in the Arab world. For different reasons, Arabs tend to either ignore or satirize mental illness. The misconceptions around mental illness sometimes keeps people from reaching out for help, simply to avoid being told the same bull***t.
You don’t need to seek treatment, just pray
I am in no way saying that praying is not going to help, but you can’t just pray and pray and pray and still pray after seeing no results. Always seek for help and treatment, always. Never forget that.
Anything mental illness or related to it is 3eeb
Another thing is that Arabs tend to deal with mental illness as something 3eeb or taboo. Some people actually feel ashamed of saying that they’ve looked for help and are actually getting treatment. What’s even worse is that some people just suffer quietly in fear of being tabooed.
Anyone who suffers from mental illness is 100% insane
The media have also contributed to one of the stupidest misconceptions dealing with mental illness. The movie Khally Balak Men 3a2lak is an obvious example of this misrepresentation, in which the mental health institute is simply “Mustachfa Maganeen” (Lunatic Asylum), and all the patients are described as mad or crazy. Most people who make it to the silver screen who suffer from mental illness are portrayed as 100% insane.
Seeking help is perceived as an unnecessary luxury
What’s even worse is that seeking psychotherapy is considered a huge luxury that people can’t afford. So, people are ready to pay all the money they have to treat any physical illness they have, but when it comes to mental illness, they just perceive it as an unnecessary luxury.
The family sometimes get the blame
Sometimes the rest of the family suffer from stigma along with the mentally ill. Some just don’t get that they don’t have to trace back the reason to childhood and family issues. In most cases, people would simply blame the family, as if it’s the only possible cause of mental or psychological disturbances.
If you’re open about your problems, you’re automatically an attention whore
Another way of perceiving anyone who suffers mentally and is open about it are automatically seen as attention whores. Yes, some people might do that but not all of them, so please, be careful.