Initiative aims to raise community awareness of mental disorders
UAE, 13 October, 2016 - The Ministry of Health and Prevention’s Specialized Healthcare Department has launched the ‘Generation Health’ awareness campaign to highlight the importance of early diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. Part of the campaign is to organize activities in government agencies and shopping centers as well as conduct surveys in collaboration with families and school communities.
ADHD is a mental disorder of the neurodevelopment type that affects children’s behavior. Kids afflicted with ADHD have short attention span and behavioral problems, which often result in poor school performance. The disorder is characterized by problems paying attention, excessive activity, or difficulty controlling behavior.
Dr. Youssif Al Serkal, Assistant Undersecretary for the Ministry of Health & Prevention Hospitals Sector, said: “The ‘Generation Health’ campaign forms part of the National Mental Health Program designed in accordance with the Ministry’s mandate to provide quality and globally recognized healthcare services to all members of UAE society. We aim to promote the mental health and well-being of all community members by raising awareness of the disease. Through our campaign, we hope to reduce society’s negative attitudes towards people with mental disorders, especially children with ADHD, and their families.
Dr. Al Serkal revealed that the Ministry will establish a special clinic to treat children with ADHD. As such, WILL signed strategic agreements and Memorandums of Understanding with concerned government and private institutions to facilitate exchange of information and experiences REGARDING ADHD.
Dr. Muna Al Kuwari, Director of the Ministry’s Specialized Healthcare Department, added that ADHD symptoms in children include lack of focus, avoidance of homework, and the tendency to lose stuff frequently. There is a gap in terms of accurate statistics with regard to its prevalence in the UAE but the number continues to grow based on the cases being treated by local psychiatric clinics and specialized treatment centers alone.
Dr. Al Kuwari said: “We began our series of awareness campaigns at Dubai Festival Centre and City Centre Mirdif, where we distributed leaflets containing proper methods to detect the disorder, in addition to our initial diagnostic questionnaires given out to parents. Moreover, we organized workshop sessions at the first Academy School in Ajman for teachers; at the Ministry’s office for the staff; at the Sahara City Centre Sharjah. Similar activities will take place in Manar Mall Ras Al Khaimah on October 22, 2016; Ajman City Centre on November 12, 2016; and the Emirates Mall on November 11, 2016.
The program’s second phase will involve holding of workshops in schools to guide teachers in teaching and helping students with ADHD. The school sessions will be conducted in cooperation with the Ministry of Education. The trainings will also target kindergarten and secondary school teachers.