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‘Cn I jus txt, coz I don wan 2b heard’: Understanding Mental Illness Stigma in Arab Youth’s Everyday Lives

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Part of the Global Perspectives on Health Geography book series (GPHG)

Abstract

Mental illness stigma – the fear, rejection, avoidance and discrimination against people with mental illness – exists globally among all cultures and socio-demographic groups. It is one of the toughest barriers for people to seek help, often creating more suffering and isolation than the mental problem itself. For young people with mental health problems, mental illness stigma makes them vulnerable to discrimination, social exclusion, educational difficulties, physical ill-health and human rights violations. Arab youth experience mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression in their everyday lives but silence these issues due to societal and cultural stigma. Arab youth in 15 MENA countries have now broken this silence, stating that mental illness stigma is pervasive in their everyday lives. This chapter firstly discusses the concept of mental illness stigma as a social determinant of mental health. This public health approach shifts the focus from ‘individual patients’ being to blame for their mental issues, to considering environmental factors including interactions between societal (family, social networks, community and neighbourhood), economic, political and cultural conditions overall. Secondly, a rapid literature review of research exploring mental illness stigma for Arab youth is reported, showing the barriers this stigma sets up for them to seek help. Thirdly, the challenges faced by Arab mental health researchers due to mental illness stigma are explored and suggestions are offered based on New Zealand youth public health interventions for ways to engage with Arab young people to combat mental illness stigma.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-91790-6_4
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Correspondence to Patricia Niland .

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Niland, P. (2022). ‘Cn I jus txt, coz I don wan 2b heard’: Understanding Mental Illness Stigma in Arab Youth’s Everyday Lives. In: Barakat, C., Al Anouti, F. (eds) Adolescent Mental Health in The Middle East and North Africa. Global Perspectives on Health Geography. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-91790-6_4

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