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Background: There is limited research on mental health literacy and stigmatization attitudes towards mental illness in Tunisia, despite the increasing need for such research to better understand its complexity in a specific country context. Using an exploratory mixed-method approach this study attempted to assess the needs and perceptions about mental health within a population of Tunis-based young adults.
Methods: A sample of 80 participants completed an online survey on different aspects of mental health attitudes, mental illness literacy and stigma, with a subset of survey participants participating in one-on-one interviews.
Results: Survey results show that 77% of respondents completely agreed or somewhat agreed that they would like to learn more about mental health. This study also found that 68% of the sample reported a lack of accessibility to mental healthcare services resulting in 49% reporting their preference to search their symptoms on the internet instead of informing someone. Throughout the interviews phase, the main factors identified to have a crucial impact on young adults' choice to openly communicate feelings and thoughts with each other and to seek professional help are: culture, gender roles, sexual orientation, and family approval.
Conclusion: This study suggests a great desire among young adults to learn more about mental health, and highlights the cultural complexities regarding mental health stigmatization in Tunisia. It also highlights the need for culturally relevant approaches raising awareness about mental health.
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