H. Al Sultan1, L. Fakih2, A. Benyaich1, K. El Asmar2
1International Committee of the Red Cross, Physical Rehabilitation Program, Beirut, Lebanon, 2American University of Beirut, Faculty of Health Sciences, Beirut, Lebanon

Background: Access to healthcare services by disabled individuals residing in Lebanon is limited and hindered by several barriers, these include non-compliance with the law, high cost, discrimination, and poor services. Given this negative context, detrimental effects threaten the physical and mental well-being of people living with disability. Evidence shows that people living with physical disability are three times more likely to experience depression as compared to the general population. They also perceive themselves as being burdensome to others. Research from international samples shows that living with physical disability is associated with higher likelihood of suicide attempts and higher deaths from suicide. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) through its Physical Rehabilitation Program (PRP) in Lebanon is providing physical rehabilitation services whereas those beneficiaries have no access to Mental Health services.

Purpose: This project is a pilot study that aims to explore the mental health conditions among a sample of ICRC beneficiaries living with physical disability in Lebanon in addition to test the applicability of the self – reporting questionnaire SRQ 20 and the depression, anxiety and stress scale DASS 21 for people with physical disability.  

Methods: Fifty beneficiaries receiving physical rehabilitation services from four ICRC partner centers participated in the study with an age range from 18 to 55 years. Participants were selected on the basis of their device they are using (orthotic or prosthetic device). Users of wheelchairs or walking aids only were excluded. The validated Arabic versions of SRQ 20 and DASS 21 tools were used. Information on the sex and age of the participants were obtained. Participants were also asked about the cause of their disability, their employment status, and the type of their device (orthosis single or multi, prosthesis single or multi, ortho-prosthesis, or both prosthesis and orthosis). The cause of disability was further classified into a binary variable: traumatic vs non-traumatic. 

Results: The results show a high prevalence of depression, anxiety and stress in the sample participants. It also shows a high prevalence of suicidal thoughts (16%). There was no significant association between the mental health scores with any of the independent variables (cause of disability, type of occupation, discomfort being someone with Physical Disability, satisfaction with the device…). Only people who were uncomfortable being seen as someone with Physical Disability were more likely to score higher on the SRQ 20 scores, with a p-value<0.05.

Conclusion(s): The two tools seem to be applicable in identifying the prevalence of mental health disorders of people with physical disability. The results of the study will be used by ICRC PRP to evaluate the possibility of establishing a Mental Health referral system for their beneficiaries.

Implications: Future studies with larger sample size would be useful.

Funding, acknowledgements: International Committee of the Red Cross 

Keywords: Mental Health, Physical Disability

Topic: Mental health

Did this work require ethics approval? Yes
Institution: American University of Beirut
Committee: IRB Committee
Ethics number: SBS-2020-0002

All authors, affiliations and abstracts have been published as submitted.

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