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Saudi Arabia

Mental health services get boost

The Ministry of Health will establish two hospitals for mental health at a cost of SR 680 million, a senior official from the ministry announced here.
The Director of the General Administration of Mental Health and Social Affairs, Dr. Abdul Hamid bin Abdullah Al-Habib, said his department has allocated this budget for two new hospitals for 2013 .
According to Al-Habib, the hospital in Makkah will have 500 beds, while the facility in Al-Baha will have a capacity of 200 beds.
The ministry has expanded its mental health services and its target is to reach a bed capacity of 5,000 when the ongoing projects are completed.
There are currently 2,861 beds in hospitals for mental health, which include 98 psychiatric clinics and three major centers for patients suffering from drug addiction. Furthermore, he added that construction are currently are being carried out in Tabuk for a 200-bed mental health hospital, 200 beds in Najran, 100 beds in Araar.
He said that the total workforce in hospitals and complexes of mental health and psychiatric clinics attached to hospitals is 627 doctors, 406 psychiatrists, 724 social workers and 3,080 nurses. In addition, he said there are 79 primary health care centers (PHCs) and 22 psychiatric clinics in 22 hospitals throughout the Kingdom.
Besides these facilities , Al-Habib said there are 23 centers to treat children who are victims of family violence.
MOH spokesman Dr. Khalid Al-Mirghalani said the ministry is working on doubling the mental health and de-addiction hospitals to treat increasing numbers of patients.
“We are implementing new projects which includes establishing new mental health and de-addiction hospitals in various regions of the Kingdom with the capacity of 200-500 beds per hospital, which will be done soon according to the schedule,” he added.
He said that services offered to mental health patients must be provided as social services to avoid the patients from getting embarrassed when they enter mental health clinics.
“The media must also cooperate by raising the needed awareness to counter misconceptions and introduce mental disorder as a disorder that any person can get by facing some situations as the case with other organic disorders that needs to be treated,” he said.
More than 450 million people suffer from mental disorders in the world. Many more have mental problems. Mental health is an integral part of health; indeed, there is no health without mental health.
Mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders. Mental health is determined by socio-economic, biological and environmental factors. Cost-effective intersectoral strategies and interventions exist to promote mental health.

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