Sidra Medicine, a Qatar Foundation entity, has partnered with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in its national mental health and wellness campaign ‘Are you ok’ to highlight the support services available for women, children and young people in Qatar.
“The (coronavirus) pandemic has changed the landscape regarding the critical need for robust mental health support systems. It is very assuring and speaks of the calibre of the healthcare services in Qatar, to see how the Ministry of Public Health and Sidra Medicine have rapidly mobilised to keep mental health on top of the country’s service agenda,” Professor Muhammed Waqar Azeem, the chair of Psychiatry at Sidra Medicine said.
“At Sidra Medicine, we remain committed to supporting the people of Qatar, particularly children, young people and perinatal women in meeting their mental healthcare needs. In addition to world class mental health services, our Department of Psychiatry has started a number of educational and training programmes and is also involved in various leading-edge mental health-related research projects.”
Sidra Medicine offers Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Adolescent Medicine and Perinatal Mental Health services in Qatar. The services are either referral-based (in the case of children) or self-referral/ direct (perinatal mental health services).
Sidra Medicine’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is available for children aged 5 to 18 years and includes outpatient, inpatient, consultation liaison and emergency care.
The service can be accessed via referral from Primary Health Care Centres, private clinics, schools and other sources.
“As part of our ongoing efforts to strengthen mental health support services, we have focused on patient care, education to build local human resources, research and building community models of care in Qatar. The success of our programme is based on the collaboration of patients, their relatives and our staff, who all work to help achieve patient goals to live their lives as fully possible. I am also proud of our team’s achieving accreditation for the world’s first Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education International (ACGMEI),” Dr Ahsan Nazeer, division chief of CAHMS at Sidra Medicine, said.
“Our advice to parents dealing with children with anxiety, especially during this time, is to encourage their children to share their concerns and have frank and open discussions about their fears and concerns. It is also important that children obtain accurate information from reliable sources. We also encourage parents to focus on instilling a sense of hope and optimism in their children by role modelling appropriate positive behaviuors,” Nazeer said.
Dr Alanoud al-Ansari, division chief of Adolescent Medicine whose clinic provides developmentally appropriate mental health and medical care for adolescents aged 12 to 18 years, has seen a rise in anxiety in teenagers.
“Teenagers are manifesting their anxiety around loss of control and unpredictability through eating disorders, depression and cutting themselves. Many of them have not been able to cope with being back at school. Despite families being in lockdown and opting to stay home during the pandemic, many families while