A Community Study on Attitudes to and Knowledge of Mental Illness in Tehran


There are a limited number of studies on attitudes towards mental illness and mentally ill from Islamic countries even though Islam is the second largest of the religious beliefs in the world. An interesting element in Islamic teaching is the idea that mental illness as well as other ailments might be an effect of the will of Allah. This could imply that persons suffering from mental disorders might be less stigmatized. The aim of this study was to determine the knowledge and attitudes towards mental illness in the city of Tehran, Iran. Eight hundred subjects, randomly chosen from 4 districts of Tehran, responded to a modified version of a questionnaire developed by the World Psychiatric Association to reduce stigma because of schizophrenia. The self-completed questionnaire was delivered by 4 trained psychologists. The mean age of the sample was 37.5 years and 53.3% being males. A majority agreed that mental illness could be treated outside the hospital (70%) and 74% thought that mentally ill “can work in regular jobs”. Almost half agreed that “mentally ill are a public nuisance” and that “mentally ill people are dangerous”. One quarter agreed that they “would be ashamed if people knew someone in the family who was diagnosed with mental illness”. Generally males seemed to be more accepting than women. Generally the level of negative attitudes in Tehran population is at the same level as in other countries and cultures studied. Cultural beliefs and Islamic influence on attitudes towards mental illness and mentally ill need further studies. The result indicates a need for further actions to reduce the negative attitudes towards mentally ill in Tehran, Iran.

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Ghanean, H. , Nojomi, M. and Jacobsson, L. (2015) A Community Study on Attitudes to and Knowledge of Mental Illness in Tehran. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 5, 26-30. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2015.51004.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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