• 4/27/2019

    ​Doha, 27 April, 2019: This weekend hundreds of mental healthcare professionals and key stakeholders in Qatar’s mental health community gathered for Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) fifth annual Symposium for Community Mental Health Services in Qatar.

    Mr. Iain Tulley, CEO of HMC’s Mental Health Service and Qatar National Health Strategy 2018-2022 Lead for Mental Health and Wellbeing stated that a key focus of this year’s symposium was the Mental Health Law, which was first articulated in the Qatar National Mental Health Strategy 2013-2018.

    “Focusing on mental health and wellbeing is hugely important, so too is safeguarding the rights of individuals who require mental health treatment. The passing of the Mental Health Law in Qatar was a major step forward in ensuring the rights of citizens and residents when they require treatment,” explained Mr. Tulley.

    “Progress has been made in developing a code of practice to guide clinical staff in the use of the law and to ensure that patients and their families are informed about treatment options. A Mental Health Law Office is being established within the Ministry of Public Health, which will be managed by experienced mental health experts who will form a ‘competent authority’ to oversee continued implementation of the law,” added Mr. Tulley.

    As part of the implementation of the Qatar National Health Strategy 2018-2022, the Ministry of Public Health has set out a plan to promote mental health and wellbeing and improve access to mental health services, with a national target to ensure 40 percent of services are offered in the primary and community settings by 2022.

    Dr. Mohamed Ali Siddig Ahmed, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director of the Community Mental Health Services said HMC is continually striving to provide more services that are based on the needs and the wants of the population, adding that in the majority of cases this represents more care in community-based settings.

    “A considerable effort has gone into working closely with our primary healthcare partners to deliver more assessment and consultation services through primary health centers, which is often more appealing to patients with mild to moderate mental health conditions. This is reflected by the establishment of the mental health clinic in the Al Thumama Health Center, which enables patients to access help with less hesitation for fear of stigma. We have also set up a mental health clinic in the primary health center at Qatar University,” said Dr. Ahmed.

    “Another recent achievement includes the establishment of teams focusing on community mental health services in Al Wakra and the wider south Doha area. And from Al Wakra Hospital, we are offering outpatient clinics, outreach, and consultations to patients in the hospital and in the Emergency Department. Our current efforts are focused on setting up community-based learning disability services, offering clinics and outreach services to people with both learning and mental health impairments,” added Dr. Ahmed.

    Two of the keynote speakers at the fifth annual Symposium for Community Mental Health Services in Qatar are eminent authorities in their respective fields. The first distinguished guest speaker was Her Highness Sayyida Basma Al Said from Oman, who spoke about mental health awareness. Her Highness is a Mental Health Consultant and therapist with over 17 years of experience in the field of mental health. She is also the owner and founder of Whispers of Serenity, the first mental health wellness clinic in Oman.

    The second international guest speaker was Dr. Clementine Maddock, who presented an international perspective on implementing mental health legislation. Dr. Maddock is a consultant psychiatrist and an honorary senior lecturer at Swansea University in Wales. She is also the Specialist Advisor on Mental Health and Mental Capacity Law for the Royal College of Psychiatrists.