Yemen is lagging in mental health, as the streets of Sanaa and major cities are filled with homeless and mentally disturbed people, according to a recent international report.
Sapien Labs issued its third annual report on the mental state of the world, ranking Yemen 46th out of 57 countries.
Sapien Labs is a non-profit organization conducting annual online research to understand global mental health. Its latest report aggregated data acquired in nine languages from almost 500,000 people across 64 countries in 2022.
According to the report issued in early March, 24.4 percent of the Yemeni respondents said they were distressed or struggling with the daily life pressures.
However, the report did not refer to the link between war and the difficult living conditions experienced by several countries, including Yemen, and mental health disorders. It focused on the impact of other factors, such as the coronavirus pandemic, family instability, and lack of love and emotional warmth during childhood.
Psychological and mental health in Yemen does not receive the needed governmental and international attention since before the coup and during the war. It also lacks funding and specialists who can address the problems.
A researcher at the University of Sanaa described the report as inaccurate, saying the research was conducted electronically rather than through field research.
He argued that Internet users in Yemen represent a small percentage of society and are often more capable of facing life pressures than those without Internet access.
The researcher, who asked not to be identified, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the report did not interview Yemenis who witnessed the horrors of the war or lost family members and friends, victims of arbitrary arrests, detention, and torture.
He said the research was general and did not consider the specificities of many countries, including Yemen, adding that it did not include children, and even adults, who returned from the fronts and were trained by Houthi militias.
The researcher estimated that a third of the population in the Houthi-controlled areas suffers from mental health disorders. He referred to the limited data and reports of public organizations and agencies, hospitals, and his daily life encounters.
Last October, the World Health Organization estimated that eight million Yemenis suffer from psychological problems due to the eight-year war, stressing that mental health disorder is one of the most prevalent health conditions in the country.
The organization indicated that the war and the economy's collapse have led to crippling health facilities and exacerbated mental illnesses affecting all segments of society.
It warned that the few available facilities that provide mental health and psychosocial services suffer from an acute shortage of funding.
A medical source in a public hospital under Houthi control said that public and private hospitals specializing in psychiatry or those with psychiatric departments each receive at least 20 cases daily of people with mental disorders.
However, the cost of treatment and the lack of specialized medical staff prevents access to adequate and actual medical services.
Many families also refuse treatments and resort to sorcery or imprison their relatives who suffer from severe mental illnesses and who are challenging to control, exacerbating their disorders.
The Houthi coup halted their support allocated to the health sector as the revenues of the funding agencies for psychiatric hospitals and clinics declined.
International agencies became more concerned with food and drug relief, and mental health issues remained at the lowest level of their concerns.
The local organizations supporting psychiatry could not obtain funding and provide its services.
The medical source accuses the Houthi militia of having taken control of all the health sector institutions, seizing donations, and diverting them in favor of affiliated institutions, including those concerned with caring for the families of the dead and wounded.