One in five people in Qatar is living with mental health problem that can significantly impact one’s life.

As the country’s principal public healthcare provider, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is committed to the aims and objectives of World Mental Health Day and enabling innovative community-based services and access to care.

Marked globally on 10 October each year, this year’s theme is ‘Dignity in Mental Health – Psychological and Mental Health First Aid for All’. HMC’s Mental Health Service works closely with communities in Qatar and international partners to encourage greater awareness and understanding of mental health in an effort to dispel many of the misconceptions that exist.

Iain Tulley, Chief Executive Officer of HMC’s Mental Health Service, said:

We have seen tremendous changes in recent years, both in the way we administer our mental health care services and how the general public deal with mental ill-health. But we are fully aware that considerable work still needs to be done to help individuals feel more confident in tackling the stigma, isolation and discrimination that continues to afflict people with mental health conditions, their families and their carers.’

Dr Majed Al Abdulla, Deputy Chair of Psychiatry and Senior Consultant Psychiatrist for HMC’s Mental Health Service said mental illness affects many in our community but early detection and treatment can significantly reduce the impact it can have on people’s lives.

He said:

Unfortunately, many people with mental health conditions do not regularly seek help when they are stressed or experiencing feelings of more severe depression or anxiety. This is either because they do not recognise their symptoms as an indication of mental health problems or feel too embarrassed about what society might think about them getting professional help.’

Dr Al Abdulla added:

But people should be mindful that mental health conditions are just like physical and physiological health problems and should receive appropriate professional care. People who neglect their mental health for too long can experience further complications and may need more protracted treatment as a result. We therefore urge individuals who feel the need to seek professional help to check with their Primary Health physician who will refer them to the right specialist for appropriate care.’

Dr Mohamed Ali Siddig, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director of the Community Mental Health Services, explained:

Increasingly we are developing services and models of care that are closer to the community such as Enaya Continuing Care Center 2 in Muaither, which is a community-based facility offering care in a home-like environment that has been very well received by service users.’

Dr Siddig said:

Our goal is to provide services that are valued by the community, close to home and fully integrated with general and physical health services, working closely with the Home Care Services, Mobile Doctors and Primary Care.’

World Mental Health Day was established more than 20 years ago as an initiative by the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members in many countries around the world, to promote mental health education, awareness and advocacy.

For more information, visit hamad.qa.