1Subas Pradhan, 2Roy Geo Matthew, 2Lynn Itani, 2Rosamma Abhraham

1Adult Mental Health Service, TEWV, Redcar, UK; 2Al Amal Hospital, Dubai, United Arab Emirates


There is evidence that self-help materials are a helpful resource for the treatment of common mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Promoting self-care for alleviating depression, anxiety and other common illnesses has been highlighted as a strategy to address the increasing mental health burden while at the same time also improving community care and primary healthcare services. Despite this, very few studies have evaluated mental health professionals’ views on the acceptability of these material as a resource that complements treatment.

Material(s) and Method(s):

A cross-sectional survey was administered to staff who work with psychiatry patients at a specialty psychiatry hospital in Dubai, UAE between March 2018 and April 2018. Mental health professionals who work with patients and were included in this study were psychiatrists, general practitioners, nurses, psychologists and social workers. Respondents were asked about any previous use of self-help material as part of their practice for patients with: (i) psychosis, (ii) depression / anxiety, (iii) substance abuse / others. Data analysis was conducted using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Descriptive analysis was conducted first for all the items in the survey.


Of all those surveyed, the percentage of using self-help material was 31.5% for psychosis, 47.9% for depression/anxiety, 43.2% for substance use / others, and 98.6% for any of these. The predominant type of self-help materials used was a mix of resources (69.2%) followed by mostly websites (14.3%) and printed materials (14.3%).


Self-help materials are widely applied by respondents (98.6%) and in support of various types of mental disorders. These materials are being administered mostly as a mix of formats (70% of respondents), including books, leaflets, and websites. In addition, only around half of the professionals think that the use of these materials increases mental health literacy.

The major limitation is that this study only found out about the attitude of the respondents on the use of self help materials but did not actually delve deep into their actual clinical practice.