“No health without mental health” is the slogan that guides the professional work of Latefa Ali Dardas, PhDn, MPMHN, BSN. A member of Beta Epsilon Chapter at Duke University, Latefa received both her bachelor’s degree in nursing and master’s degree in psychiatric and mental health nursing from the University of Jordan, where she was ranked first in her class. Most recently, she received her PhD in nursing from Duke University School of Nursing, where her dissertation work was focused on early detection and management of depression among Jordan adolescents.
“Research is my passion,” says Latefa. “It is my scientific path to filling significant gaps in knowledge and identifying ways to promote people’s health and well-being.”
In 2016, Latefa received the STTI/Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science Grant to help conduct her study, “A Nationally Representative Survey of Depression Symptoms Among Jordanian Adolescents: Associations With Depression Stigma, Depression Etiological Beliefs, and Likelihood to Seek Help for Depression.” This survey was the first nationally-representative survey of adolescent depression in Jordan. In the Arab region, depression is estimated to be the most prevalent mental health problem among adolescents; however, the lack of research can be detrimental to building awareness and getting the help that this younger population needs. As a result, the purpose of Latefa’s research is to “estimate a prevalence of depression symptoms among Arab adolescents, and determine relationships with depression stigma, depression etiologic beliefs, and help-seeking intentions for depression.”
After surveying nearly 2,400 adolescents (ages 12-17) who represented all three regions of the country, the study “revealed alarming results in terms of the current high prevalence and likely social determinants of adolescent depression in Jordan. It also shed light on the high prevalence of inaccurate depression etiological beliefs, stigmatizing attitudes, and low tendency to seek professional psychological help for depression among this population.”
The study demonstrated the need for healthcare providers, researchers, and educators to focus on supporting and promoting Jordanian adolescent mental health, as well as provided recommendations for Arab nurses to help depressed Arab adolescents and their families promote mental health and well-being. Latefa says, “Overall, findings from this study can provide a solid, culturally competent foundation from which to conduct future research to tackle depression and reflect the unique characteristics of Arab culture.”
In addition to her mental health-focused research, Latefa has worked with marginalized and less privileged populations in Jordan for the past seven years, especially those in need of mental health support. In addition to leading and organizing several open health days in Syrian and Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, Latefa worked with parents of children with autism who suffered social stigmas and needed mental health services. In recognition of her work, Latefa received the Young Women Achiever International Award in 2016, granted by the Venus International Foundation Research Awards – India.
Latefa has received numerous awards and published 23 articles, and is a member of the Leadership Succession Committee for Beta Epsilon Chapter. “I joined [STTI] looking for a valued and continuing professional affiliation,” Latefa says. “Joining the chapter also provided me with opportunities to fund my dissertation research and to present my work at international conferences.”
To fund research for members like Latefa, donate to the STTI Foundation for Nursing today!