As the mental health field in Oman is still in the developing stages, treatment for depression has yet to be offered at international standards. In the past, Ibn Sina Hospital was the country’s primary psychiatric facility. This was later replaced by Al Masarrah Hospital in 2013. This hospital is located outside Muscat and boasts 245 beds in 10 wards (increased from a mere 75 beds in the old facility). While this is an improvement, outpatient treatment elsewhere is still inaccessible by most of the population. The WHO-AIM Report says that there were only 26 outpatient mental health facilities around the country. In 2006, these centres treated an estimated total of 9,901 people throughout Oman.
Depression: A Growing Problem in Oman
While definite national statistics are hard to come by, there are signs that depression is on the increase in Oman. The National reports that cases at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital rose by more than 20% from 1,800 to 2,200 women treated in 2009 and 2010 respectively. 65% of these complained of failed marriages. In fact this issue with depression in Omani women is nothing new. In the 1990s, the University also found that one in five patients admitted for ingesting pills with the aim of committing suicide were female.
Recently, there have been a number of studies on the prevalence of depression within Oman. One research paper looked at students at Sultan Qaboos University. It found that 27.7% of participants had some degree of depression. There was no statistical association with gender, faculty or year however. Another study looked at postpartum depression in new mothers living in Al-Dakhlyia Governorate. At two weeks, 13.5% of mothers showed signs of depression. For mothers at eight weeks, this percentage dropped to 10.6%. Work difficulties, family conflict and family illness were all seen as predictors of this mental condition.
Mental Healthcare Barriers in Oman
One of the major issues facing Oman when improving its mental healthcare sector is the stigmatisation that surrounds diseases such as depression. Despite the Ministry of Health announcing that there were 1,612 cases of mood disorders and 3,687 cases of stress-related mental disorders in 2011, most occurrences go unreported. This is because talking about conditions such as depression is still seen as taboo by many.
Social awareness is improving though as psychotherapists in Muscat have noted. More people have opened up about their conditions although there is still a ways to go. Most still think of depression as a weakness and are ashamed or dismissive about it. Within Arab culture, to admit your emotions is to invite criticism by others. Therapy is also seen as something negative which stops people seeking treatment locally.
Treatment Alternatives for Omanis with Depression
With a developing healthcare field and issues with social stigma, it is no wonder why some Omanis choose to seek help abroad. Camino Recovery is now available to provide long-term treatment for any locals who cannot find assistance elsewhere in Oman. We are located an hour from Malaga Airport on Spain’s sunny Andalusian Coast. In this seaside setting, patients can come to terms with the cause of their depression and discover the best ways to balance their thoughts and behaviour. This is all in a tranquil environment designed to relax and soothe the individual putting them in a frame of mind best suited to better mental health.
A Team Experienced in Mental Health
Our qualified clinical staff are trained in a number of treatments each designed to help individuals with depression and other mental conditions. This includes cognitive behavioural therapy, group therapy and equine assisted psychotherapy. With more than 80 years of combined experience, our team can tailor a personalised treatment programme to suit your needs. This will be held in our private retreat away from the stresses and stigmas of Omani society. You will also be given the chance to relax on the beach, take a dip in our swimming pool and walk through our lush gardens.
Malaga Airport is an 11 to 15-hour flight from Muscat depending on whether you transfer through Munich, Istanbul, Dubai, Zurich or Frankfurt. There are a number of airlines flying this route including Oman Air, Turkish Airlines, Swiss Airlines and Emirates. Once you have arrived at Malaga, one of our personal drivers will pick you up and take you to the retreat at Camino Recovery. After this, you can check into our private villa and commence treatment. We aim for long-term solutions, allowing you to return to Oman with a more balanced frame of mind.