Mental health literacy among Afghan adults: A community-based cross-sectional survey study in Herat city


  • Abdul Qadim Mohammadi Herat Regional Hospital
  • Laura Johnston George Mason University
  • Kartikeya Ojha Sikkim Manipal University



Mental health, Literacy, Disorder, Herat-Afghanistan


Background: Health literacy has been defined as the ability to gain access to, understand, and use information in ways which promote and maintain good health. The significance of mental health literacy (MHL)is evolving as a modifiable contributing factor to mental health. This study was undertaken to assess the awareness and attitudes of Afghans on mental disorders.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was administered in August 2022 among Afghans (N=768) living in the Herat province of Afghanistan. The survey examined knowledge and attitude of participants on mental disorders.

Results: Generally, most of the participants (99.1%) had poor mental health literacy. 99.4% of participants with an age range of 36-90 years had poor mental health literacy. Almost three-quarter of the participants had poor knowledge of the ability to recognize disorders (72.5%). Less than one-thirds of the participants had good knowledge of where to seek information (29.4%).

Conclusion: Mental health literacy rate was found very low among Afghan population. Socio-economic variables found significantly associated with MHL was educational level, economic status, and employment status. Considering the high prevalence of mental disorders in Afghanistan, the government and related non-governmental organizations should implement awareness campaign to increase the knowledge of Afghan people on mental disorders.

Author Biographies

Abdul Qadim Mohammadi, Herat Regional Hospital

Mental Health Ward, Herat Regional Hospital, Herat, Afghanistan.

Laura Johnston, George Mason University

Department of Neuroscience, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, United States.

Kartikeya Ojha, Sikkim Manipal University

Sikkim Manipal Institute of Medical Sciences, Sikkim Manipal University, Gangtok, Sikkim, India.


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How to Cite

Mohammadi, A. Q., Johnston, L., & Ojha, K. (2023). Mental health literacy among Afghan adults: A community-based cross-sectional survey study in Herat city. Razi International Medical Journal, 3(1), 36–43.