Trauma-Informed Care Survey of Psychiatrists and Primary Care Physicians in the Middle East


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Objective: To explore in Arab communities the prevalence, dynamics, and resources available to address the physical and psychological consequences that may arise from psychiatric disorders.

Methods: An online survey of psychiatrists and primary care physicians from 17 Arab countries was conducted between September 2011 and June 2012. The survey serves as a needs assessment in a scientifically valid and culturally sensitive manner. Additionally, it focuses attention on the clinical strengths and weaknesses of Middle Eastern primary health care and mental health centers in identifying and treating trauma-related health and mental health issues.

Results: The 90 survey respondents comprised psychiatrists (n = 53) and primary care physicians (n = 37). They practiced in 3 clinical settings: primary mental health (27%), inpatient mental health (43%), and primary health care (29%). Traumas frequently reported by their patients were attributed to recent death of a close relative or friend (62.3%), domestic violence (41.4%), divorce/separation (72.1%), serious traffic accident (45.6%), sexual assault/rape (20.3%), child abuse (20.3%), psychological effects of war (30.9%), victims of crime (15.9%), refugees/internally displaced persons (20.6%), physical effects of war (19.1%), torture (13.2%), elderly abuse (11.6%), psychological effects of a natural disaster (7.4%), physical effect of a natural disaster (7.2%), and child soldiers (4.3%). Psychiatrists had significantly more patients with the following traumatic experiences: divorce/separation (81.4% vs 57.1%, P = .039), recent death of a close relative or friend (72.7% vs 47.6%, P = .048), and domestic violence (51.1% vs 19.0%, P = .014). Clinical teams comprised substantial numbers of students but small numbers of community volunteers and school counselors.

Conclusions: This study highlights the need to develop awareness and training programs in Arab communities to identify and properly treat traumatized individuals in psychiatric and primary care settings.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2017;19(5):17m02157

https://doi.org/10.4088/PCC.17m02157