Recent data published by the Saudi National Mental Health Survey (SNMHS) found the prevalence and treatment of mental disorders and found that 1 in 3 people in Saudi Arabia and only 5 % have visited a psychiatrist or psychologist. This recent study also confirms that the number of young depressive patients approaching the primary health care centers in Saudi Arabia for supportive care and treatment has enormously increased but mental health spending and research are low and limited. In the GCC, recent data states that approximately 15% of the population suffer from mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, dementia and substance abuse. A report by Ipsos last year, as part of its Spotlight KSA Series: Views on Wellbeing, discussed that 47% of Saudi adults very or fairly often think of their mental wellbeing, whereas 59% very or fairly often think of their physical wellbeing.
Before the COVID19 pandemic, WHO reported that anxiety and depression alone afflicted 284 million and 264 million people respectively. Yet the scale of the problem today is likely to be larger as many never seek help from a professional in this region for stigma and lack of awareness reasons, unfortunately. In Saudi Arabia, for example, 80% with severe mental disorders do not seek treatment.
KSA's Journey towards a Stronger Healthcare Ecosystem
It is obvious that Saudi Arabia has made great steps toward improving its mental healthcare. Looking at the progress, during the past 30 years, KSA has developed an extensive hospital-based mental health system and mental health research and treatment have been made a greater priority and an urgent concern in the past decades.
Furthermore, in line with Saudi Vision 2030, the Ministry of Health is developing a new patient-centered healthcare system that takes into account social, mental, and physical wellbeing. It is very clear that mental is becoming a priority, especially in June 2022 WHO urges mental health decision makers and advocates to step up commitment and action to change attitudes, actions and approaches to mental health.
Janssen's Commitment to Mental Health Awareness
Mental health awareness and our understanding of psychiatric conditions and mental illnesses have evolved at a tremendous rate in the past decade, especially in KSA. In fact, our understanding of psychiatric conditions and neurodegenerative diseases has evolved at a tremendous rate since the 1950s. But, while our scientific knowledge in this field has increased, so has the number of people affected by mental health issues – for example, it is estimated that in Europe, schizophrenia affects 3.7 million people, and more than 40 million people are now living with depression.
We remain committed to investing in research and development in areas of greatest need like neuroscience, we are dedicated to working side-by-side with healthcare stakeholders, through trusting and transparent partnerships. Mental-health campaigners in the Middle East are now aggressively addressing these systemic issues. We are promoting scientific research in the field, which is the need of the hour. Supported by its long-term legacy in helping patients and combating mental health issues, Janssen plays a crucial role and reducing the burden, disability, and devastation caused by serious neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases and developing new solutions and innovations that not only improve but transform, the lives of people living with mental illness.
At Janssen, we believe that we must work with our partners and collaborators to foster a conversation about fighting stigma and increasing compassion in the KSA. We must explain the importance of science and treatments to understand mental illness.
Joining Forces for Mental Well-being
Janssen in collaboration with the KSA authorities have set successful efforts to improve the well-being of their citizens, medically and economically. Looking at recent data in the GCC, neuropsychiatric disorders contribute to 14 to 20% of the total burden of disease which makes it the second most common illness leading to disability within the GCC with an approximate prevalence of 5.1%. In KSA it causes a total economic burden of SAR 14,997 million including treatment, outpatient physician visits, hospitalization, monitoring, and psychological/behavioural treatment. 1/5th of the primary care visits to a doctor in Saudi relate to mental illness therefore the burden is disease needs to be addressed here.
Our goal is to reduce the burden, disability, and devastation caused by serious mental illnesses and we work together with the government and community to promote better mental health.
At Janssen, we address the vast burden of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative conditions by delivering transformational products for schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, and multiple sclerosis.
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