Budget for mental health programs should increase

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AMMAN — The National Center for Mental Health has recorded over 2,000 visits last year, and specialists argue that the budget for mental health programs must be increased to make up for the lack of services in the field, and that legislation on the matter needs to be issued, according to Al-Ghad News.اضافة اعلان

The National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA) organized a workshop on the topic of mental health, and social and psychosocial support in Jordan, with specialists agreeing that the need for mental health services is increasing, but there is a shortage of specialized doctors, of mental health services, and no coverage by private insurance. At the same time, the cost in the private sector is high and the distribution of such services is poor, they said.

According to the center’s figures, 35 therapists and psychiatrists work for the center, 12 specialists work for the Jordanian Royal Medical Services, four in universities’ hospitals, and 44 doctors work in the private sector, distributed as follows: 36 clinics in Amman, three in Zarqa, and five in Irbid. There are no such clinics in the southern regions.

According to the World Health Organization, in 2014 there was one psychiatrist for 200,000 citizens in Jordan.

Mohammad Meqdadi, NCFA secretary-general, said that the absence of specialized Jordanian legislation regarding psychiatric disorders is a real obstacle to the provision of preventive and curative services in the area of mental health, pointing out that according to WHO, around 75 percent of countries have specialized mental health legislation, which is not Jordan’s case.

Meqdadi pointed to the growing demand for specialized mental health support during the pandemic, which led to specialists having to deal with higher levels of anxiety and tension than usual, in addition to the challenges facing health-care workers.

He also lamented the exclusion of psychiatric disorders from the policy of insurance companies, saying that while Jordanians receive free treatment at government health clinics, the cost of psychotherapy in the private sector is high.

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