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HLTH 1037 Mental Health Question: Critique the strengths, weaknesses and identify the opportunities in mental healthcare in Saudi Arabia and recommend best practices on how to integrate mental healthcare into primary care. Answer: The mental health care system in Saudi Arabia has set a benchmark with the transformation of the existing system into the state-of-the-art systems, which ensures the adaption to the challenges posed by the modernisation (Koenig et al., 2018). The paper presents the strengths and weaknesses of the mental healthcare system in Saudi Arabia. In addition, the paper presents a range of the best practices for the integration of mental healthcare into primary care. One of the major strengths of the mental health care system in Saudi Arabia is the establishment of the primary health care centres (PHC) to ensure the primary diagnosis and treatment, as was encouraged by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the year 2000. The second major strength is the increase in the number of psychiatric hospitals over the past 3 decades, including 21 speciality hospitals. The same is marked by the simultaneous increments in the number of psychologists, psychiatric nurses, and psychiatric social workers in the region. The specialised population has also been taken care of, which is depicted by the 21 child psychiatry clinics in the region. Some of the weaknesses in the mental health care system of Saudi Arabia that can be improvised are the need for the rendering of the comprehensive training to the primary health care physicians, leading to enhancement in their knowledge and skills (Qureshi, AlHabeeb & Koenig, 2013). In addition, the level of training for nurses is also low. The overall programs for the primary health care physicians are infrequent. Another weakness is that as there is a system of primary health care in Saudi Arabia in terms of the mental health, there is a risk of prescription of antipsychotic drugs by the range of workers in the system. In addition to the weaknesses, the other one is that there exists difficulty in terms of the adequate sustainable funding for the programmes. However, there lies a range of opportunities as well, in the system, which can be exploited for the improvement of the overall mental healthcare system. This can be done by the integration of primary care practices. The benefit of the said integration is that the population at large can have access to the facilities in the events of the disorders (Funk, Saraceno, Drew & Faydi, 2008). The best practices include the organisation of the workshops to enable patients and their families to reduce the social stigma linked to mental disorders. This can be further be aided by the counselling and education to promote the maximum participation in the society. The next best practice can be the evaluation of the results and the analysis of the knowledge and skills of the physicians. Accordingly, the review programmes of the same must be framed. Another best practice is the enactment of the statutes, policies, and plans for the development and the integration of the strong mental healthcare system (Asarnow, Rozenman, Wiblin & Zeltzer, 2015). The whole system must be supervised, in addition, the advice and guidance must be rendered at periodical intervals to the specialists that are the psychiatrists, and the mental health nurses. Thus, from the discussion in the previous parts, it can be concluded that the integration of the primary health care and the mental health care has a range of benefits. However, there are few weaknesses as well. The best practices for the same as listed above must be adopted to get par the weaknesses and for the overall development in the medical system as in case of Saudi Arabia. References Asarnow, J. R., Rozenman, M., Wiblin, J., & Zeltzer, L. (2015). Integrated medical-behavioral care compared with usual primary care for child and adolescent behavioral health: a meta-analysis. JAMA pediatrics, 169(10), 929-937. Funk, M., Saraceno, B., Drew, N., & Faydi, E. (2008). Integrating mental health into primary healthcare. Mental health in family medicine, 5(1), 5-8. Koenig, H., Al Zaben, F., Sehlo, M., Khalifa, D., Al Ahwal, M., Qureshi, N., & Al-Habeeb, A. (2018). Mental Health Care in Saudi Arabia: Past, Present and Future. Retrieved from:  Qureshi, N., AlHabeeb, A., & Koenig, H. (2013). Mental health system in Saudi Arabia: an overview. Neuropsychiatric Disease And Treatment, 1121. doi: 10.2147/ndt.s48782

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