"Integrating Kuwait's Mental Health System to End Stigma: A Call to Action"

J Ment Health. 2014 Feb;23(1):1-3. doi: 10.3109/09638237.2013.775407.


Despite the global prevalence of mental illness and its negative effects on the economy in terms of healthcare spending, many affected individuals do not receive timely or adequate treatment due to stigmatization of such disorders in their communities. Being labeled as mentally ill can have detrimental consequences in several cultures. In Kuwait, the stigma associated with visiting the country's main provider of mental health services, the Psychological Medicine Hospital, is an obstacle for many seeking professional help for mental health. Cultural acceptance of visiting the local primary care clinic, however, allows frequent contact with primary care physicians who often find themselves frustrated at their inability to provide psychiatric services because it is not part of their training. The refusal of the patient to be referred to a stigmatized institution further increases the challenges of treating such patients for these physicians. The integration of mental health care into general health services is a concept encouraged by the World Health Organization's 2001 World Health Report and should be considered in order to overcome this dilemma. Such integrated care would serve as a cost-effective solution to facilitating the treatment of these individuals and reducing the stigma associated with mental disorders through education.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Kuwait
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Social Stigma*
  • Treatment Refusal