BACKGROUND: Mental disorders influence people with a high prevalence and exert remarkable burden on community members. This study was carried out aiming to assess mental health status within the age range category of 15 and above in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
METHODS: The statistical population of this cross-sectional survey consisted of residents of urban and rural areas in Iranian provinces. An estimated sample size of 36000 people was chosen using systematic random sampling and the cluster method. Access was provided by the contribution of the Geographical Post Office for each province. The GHQ-28 was used as a screening tool for mental disorders. Data analysis was carried out using SPSS-18 software.
RESULTS: The results were gathered by the traditional scoring method. A total of 23.44% of samples were suspected of having mental disorders. The prevalence of suspicion for mental disorders was higher in urban (24.55%) than rural areas (20.89%). The prevalence of anxiety and somatization symptoms was higher than social dysfunction and depression symptoms. The outcomes also revealed that the prevalence of suspicion for mental disorders increased noticeably with aging. Suspicion for these disorders was more common in women, divorcees and widows, illiterates, less educated, unemployed and disabled individuals compared with other potential groups of the society.
CONCLUSION: Comparison of the outcomes from this study with the research conducted in 1999, demonstrated an increasing prevalence rate of suspicion for mental disorders. Therefore, it is mandatory for Iranian public health authorities to take the needed steps to ensure that necessary requirements encompassing prevention and promotion of mental health are implemented.