An official media outlet in Tunisia has released the results of a study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2005 but suppressed by the now-deposed Ben Ali regime. "The study reveals rising numbers of Tunisians with mental disorders," said the head of the Tunisian Association for Psychiatry, Dr. Reem Ghacham. Half of all Tunisians, it is claimed, suffer from mental disorders.
"Many studies conducted nationwide on the work of public health institutions… show that mental disorders range from 30 to 50 percent among people attending those centres," said the media source. A staggering 28 percent of Tunisians, it is alleged, suffer from depression while 20 percent have anxiety and physical disorders.
The Tunisian Ministry of Health's Mental Health Development Unit is organising a scientific forum in collaboration with the WHO and the Association for Psychiatry on World Mental Health Day, Friday 14 October, under the slogan, "Mental health is everyone's responsibility". According to Dr. Ghacham, this is highly appropriate following the liberation of the country and people after 20 years of complete subjugation by a despotic regime.
"It is no longer possible today to identify the Tunisian citizen who is looking for a confirmation of his national, Arab, and Islamic identity, and searching for frames of reference," she said. "He is in need of a new guide in whom to trust."