2.5 million at risk: Jordan faces youth mental health crisis – study

2.5 million at risk Jordan faces youth mental health crisis – study
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AMMAN — A study enhanced by the results of discussion groups entitled "Social Services and Mental Health of Youth in Jordan: Needs and Challenges" revealed the possibility that 2.5 million people in the country are at risk of mental disorders during their lifetimes, compared to the global indicator that suggests one in every four people is exposed to these disorders during their lifetime.اضافة اعلان

The study recommended the need to adopt a unified national protocol and a "specialized" law to address the growing risk of mental disorders among young people, as well as intensive awareness campaigns to combat the "social stigma" associated with seeking psychological and social services, Al Ghad reported.

The study, conducted by the Family Health Care Institute and the Information and Research Center in partnership with the Danish Institute Against Torture, focused on the inadequacy of services provided to the groups covered by the study. It also considered economic challenges such as low income, the difficulty of transitioning to the workforce, marriage and family formation, and low employment rates as key factors contributing to the prevalence of mental disorders in the Kingdom.

Seek social and psychological support services from specialists outside the countryThe study revealed that both females and males in the age group between 16-35 years tend to seek social and psychological support services from specialists outside the country to avoid the "shame" in the face of the "prevalence of depression, anxiety, and fear" among Jordanians, as well as the prevalence of depression among young Syrians in refugee camps.

According to those involved in the study, it relied on a methodology that involved reviewing all previous studies related to the mental health of youth in Jordan and verifying the key findings through focused discussion groups in the north, central, and south of the Kingdom. It emphasized that society's perception of those in need of psychological and social support remains the most significant barrier to receiving the service, followed by the absence of specialized legislation to deal with mental disorders, which impacts the provision of therapeutic and preventive programs and services.

The study also used previous statistics from the Ministry of Health, which reported reviewing 96,000 cases in 2021 at mental health clinics affiliated with healthcare organizations and associations. Jordanians accounted for more than 16,000 cases compared to over 73,000 cases for Syrians and 5,000 cases from other nationalities, while 200,000 visits were recorded to the National Center for Mental Health in 2021.

The study considered the absence of specific legislation to address mental disorders in the Kingdom, while data from the World Health Organization indicates that 75 percent of countries worldwide have specialized legislation for psychological and social support. Locally, this is reflected in the Syrian Crisis Response Plan 2020, the National Mental Health Policy 2011, and the National Mental Health Action Plan 2018-2026.

The study emphasized that losing the right to mental health and social support is not just a loss of "health" but a loss of the right to life, stating that dealing with suicide cases in the country is an indicator of "neglect of mental health," as "suicide cases" and "suicide attempts" are closed without considering the mental disorders or mental health of the victims.

Feelings of hopelessness and joylessness
The study also highlighted previous statistics, which indicated a 43 percent rate of feelings of hopelessness among young people and a 49 percent rate of feelings of joylessness among them, based on several studies.

Trust among the youth has decreased
Among the results of the verification phase in the study, it concluded that "the role of the family in proper child rearing from childhood to adolescence has diminished, and teaching methods and curricula in schools and universities lack topics related to psychological and social support." Additionally, trust among the youth covered by the study in the services provided by public mental health centers has decreased, and they avoid resorting to the private sector due to the high cost of services.

The study called for increasing allocations related to providing psychological and social support services in the budgets of relevant ministries and institutions, increasing the number of service centers, developing a specific national protocol for dealing with cases in need of psychological and mental health support, and the importance of providing a unified and comprehensive database for all parties involved in mental health and social support, as well as enhancing the capabilities of workers and expanding specialized centers to the northern and southern governorates.

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