Addressing Mental Health in United Arab Emirates

April 30, 2020

This comprehensive guide outlines how companies can be aware of how access, cost, coverage, stigma and other challenges vary in different markets, and highlights company strategies, country snapshots and resources that may be useful as they implement their programs around the world.

This section covers information about mental health stigma, access and treatment, and provides recommendations for employers and resources on NGOs/National Campaigns in United Arab Emirates.

While the Middle East region is typically known to have extremely high stigma and challenges related to mental health conditions and access, a recent YouGov survey showed that in the U.A.E. - a country where expatriates outnumber citizens - 72% of respondents would seek help or would suggest seeking help if they or a person they were close to were struggling with their mental health.70

  • However, despite a willingness to seek treatment, “more than two in five (44%) say that they would not feel comfortable talking about their mental health, if they were to struggle with it in the future.70

Snapshot of the Health System Landscape

hospital bed

Mental hospital beds: 0.9 per 100,000 population.

General hospital psychiatric unit beds: 2.99 per 100,000 population.


Government mental health spend as % of total health spend

Government mental health spend as % of total health spend

yes check

National health insurance or reimbursement scheme includes the care and treatment of persons with major mental disorders (defined as psychosis, bipolar disorder, depression).*

health care workers

Total mental health workers: 7.25 per 100,000 population


The majority of persons pay nothing (fully insured) for mental health services/psychotropic medicine..

no check

No government-adopted or national policy for suicide prevention strategy

12% of inpatient populations stays for more than a year

47% of the inpatient population stays for more than a year.

*According to data submitted to the World Health Organization (2017)

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  • Almost four in ten (38%) would feel embarrassed to deal with it.70
  • More than a third (36%) would be “uncomfortable” going to a professional for help.”70
  • Respondents felt that openly talking about mental health and well-being the same way one would talk about physical well-being was the best way to reduce or eliminate
    this stigma.70

While most nations no longer attempt to exterminate or sterilize people with mental-health issues, we do continue to shun, stigmatize, demonize and discriminate. People will often exclude or ridicule individuals known to have experienced mental-health issues.”

Dr. Justin Thomas, professor of psychology at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi69

Addressing Mental Health in United Arab Emirates

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