Mental Health Strategy launched; one in five people in Qatar suffer mental illness
In its first major attempt to eradicate the stigma behind mental illness in the community, the Supreme Council of Health (SCH) has launched the Qatar National Mental Health Strategy 2013-2018.
“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,” said Minister of Public Health and SCH secretary general HE Abdullah bin Khalid al-Qahtani in a statement published in a Gulf Times report.
Research has shown that one in five people in Qatar are affected by mental illness. The highest prevalence of common mental disorders in Qatari population was depression and anxiety disorder.
Despite growing incidences of mental disorders, Qatar’s healthcare system has been unable to cater to this segment of patients. In one of his earlier articles, JustHere columnist Nasser Al Naama too has pointed out the lack of qualified specialists and proper treatment facilities in the country for treating mental ailments.
Reforms in mental healthcare
With the new mental health strategy, plans are in place to develop a high quality mental health system in the country. This also includes:
- Introducing a mental health law for Qatar, which will safeguard and protect the human rights of people with mental illnesses.
- Establishment of a new mental health hospital within Hamad Bin Khalifa Medical City that will work in cooperation with the under construction Neurosciences Institute to better understand and manage mental ailments.
Currently the Psychiatry Department at Hamad Medical Corporation is the only facility treating patients with mental disorders.
[Photo courtesy: National Health Strategy website]