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A Million Mentally Ill Over Last Ten Years: 126,000 Cases Medically Unexplained

225,621 cases of depression were recorded in Syria last year, according to al-Watan.
A Million Mentally Ill Over Last Ten Years: 126,000 Cases Medically Unexplained

The head of the mental health program at the Ministry of Health, Amal Shakko, revealed that more than one million cases of mental disorder had been recorded during the last ten years, the highest of which was in 2018 which amounted to 181,586 cases.

In a special seminar held by the ministry, the program official explained that the highest percentage of people with depression from 2013 until now was last year, with 225,621 cases.

“During the period monitored in the past years, there were 32,530 cases of mental distress disorders, 140,692 cases of psychotics,  40,209 cases of bipolar disease, 193,739 cases of epilepsy registered in public and private health institutions, and 33,212 cases of developmental disorders (autism – mental retardation) recorded,” it added.

Behavioural disorders amounted to 28,618 cases and recorded 16,386 cases of dementia. The cases of alcohol and alcohol disorders reached 15,326 cases, and 15,035 cases of addiction. Death by suicide recorded 3,775 cases; the highest percentage in 2016 was 548 cases.

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What is striking about the statistics presented by Dr. Shakko states that 126,154 cases of medically unexplained mental illness were recorded, while there were other 201,909 cases. The total number of cases recorded during that period is 1,073,206 cases until the end of the first half of 2022, with 79,860 cases recorded during the first six months.

As for the services provided by health institutions, the head of the mental health program at the Ministry of Health pointed out that mental health services were provided during the last five years, from 2018 until the end of the first half of 2022. They benefited 513,029 people, including 485,952 people in the field of psychological support and 27,077 people in the field of interviews. Last year, the largest number of beneficiaries was 134,648 people, while in the first half of this year, it exceeded 81,089 people. 

Shakko pointed out that the Ministry of Health is concerned with mental health to make it a global and local priority. It is working to spread awareness about mental health, work to reduce stigma and discrimination towards mental disorders, work to review priorities in mental health, promote the unification of all governmental and non-governmental efforts that fall within the framework of raising the importance of mental health, and prevention and promotion of mental health programs.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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