Qatar launches strategy for mental health…

The Qatar National Mental Health Strategy 2013-2018, an ambitious five-year plan to build a high quality mental health system and to transform the way mental illness is perceived and treated in Qatar, was launched by the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) yesterday.

The strategy titled: ‘Changing Minds, Changing Lives’ was launched under the patronage of the Minister of Public Health and SCH secretary general HE Abdullah bin Khalid al-Qahtani.

SCH Medical Affairs assistant secretary general Dr Salih Ali al-Marri, HMC managing director Dr Hanan al-Kuwari and Primary Health Care Corporation managing director Dr Mariam Ali Abdul Malik and other senior officials were also present.

Research conducted among some 1,063 Qatari nationals who attended the Primary Health Care Centres for physical health treatment suggests that mental health issues are common and that one in five people will be affected by mental illness at any given point in time, as pointed out in the strategy.

Additionally, major depressive disorder is the most burdensome disease in Qatar and three of the top five causes of disability are mental health issues. Mental health is said to be influenced by many factors and anyone can be affected, at any time.

However, it is clear that with the right care and a supportive community, recovery is possible and people can go on to live full lives, the document has stated.

In a speech read by Dr al-Marri on behalf of the minister, HE al-Qahtani said: “Mental Health Strategy is an important contribution to the human development pillar of the Qatar National Vision 2030, which recognises that a healthy mind is as important as a healthy body.

“Good mental health is about people being able to make a positive contribution in their community and coping with the normal stresses of life. Our investment in mental health is about enabling all the people of Qatar to reach and maintain the highest level of well-being and to sustain a prosperous society.”

The official described the strategy as “a significant milestone in people-centred healthcare reform and a big step towards realising our National Health Strategy goals.”

“Mental health is an essential component of health and well-being and therefore an important part of an integrated healthcare system. Our health service providers stand together today, committed to implementing this plan to deliver accessible mental health services and public education initiatives within the broader health system in Qatar,” he noted.

“A key outcome of implementing the Mental Health Strategy is to increase the number of people who have access to the care they need. We will achieve this by reducing stigma, offering treatment in a range of settings, building a mental health trained workforce, improving facilities and increasing financial investment over the next five years,” HE the minister added.

New hospital planned

A new mental health hospital is being planned within the Hamad Bin Khalifa Medical City, Hamad Medical Corporation managing director Dr Hanan al-Kuwari said yesterday.

A Mental Health Law, expected to provide for the first time modern health legislation that safeguards and protects the rights of people with mental illnesses in Qatar, is on the anvil. Gulf Times

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