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J Family Community Med. 2019 Sep-Dec;26(3):163-167. doi: 10.4103/jfcm.JFCM_215_18.

Mental health research in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: A review of trend and visibility over four decades.

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Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Imam Abdul Rahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia.


In the last few decades, there has been significant advancement in higher education and research in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) However, no research has quantified the studies on mental health in Saudi Arabia. The aim of this review was to review literature on mental health in KSA over the last four decades and compare it with studies done in other medical and surgical specialties. This narrative review is based on research published in the global scientific database of Web of Science, Scopus and Medline/PubMed. Mental Health Research of Saudi Arabia published since 1975 was retrieved. Publications related to other medical specialties such as surgery, internal medicine and pharmacology were also retrieved for comparison. A total of 159,796 studies related to medical and non-medical specialties were conducted in Saudi Arabia. A total of 52,699 related to medical specialties, 670 of which were on mental health and 52,029 on other medical specialties. At the beginning of the last decade there was a sharp increase in medical research (including mental health) publications from Saudi Arabia. Mental health research does not differ from research in other medical specialties in its output. In spite of the huge strides made in research in KSA, the provision of support for mental health research in the Kingdom is inadequate. Possible challenges and recommendations have been identified.


Medical specialties; Saudi Arabia; mental health research; psychiatry

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