Ministry of Health and Prevention launches mental health awareness campaign to mark World Mental Health Day

Initiative under the slogan ‘Live Life’ aligned with National Mental Health Program

UAE, October 11, 2016 - The Ministry of Health and Prevention has launched an awareness campaign on mental health and related disorders under the slogan ‘Live Life.’ Running from October 10 to 17, 2016 in conjunction with the World Mental Health Day, the campaign was unveiled during a Ministry-organized ceremony attended by H.E. Dr. Youssif Al Serkal, Assistant Undersecretary for the Ministry of Health and Prevention Hospitals Sector; H.E. Dr. Muna Al Kuwari, Director of the Ministry’s Specialized Healthcare and the National Mental Health Program; and representatives of various local health agencies and institutions.

Ministry of Health and Prevention launches mental health awareness campaign to mark World Mental Health Day

Ministry of Health and Prevention launches mental health awareness campaign to mark World Mental Health Day

The campaign aims to raise awareness of mental disorders, specifically anxiety and depression, which are relatively common disorders, according to research, as well as clarify the vision and objectives of the MOHAP National Mental Health Programme and what has been achieved up to the present time as well as to clarify the current projects and future plans.

The awareness campaign will include awareness lectures and distribution of booklets about depression and anxiety and screening survey for anxiety and depression in Primary Health Care centers, commercial centers and universities and a comprehensive media campaign targeting local newspapers, radio, television and social media will be launched as part of the seven-day awareness program.

H.E Dr. Al Serkal stated that the strategic plan of the National Mental Health Programme aims to provide comprehensive high quality mental health services that are based on evidence and best practice, as well as the development of community psychiatric services for patients with chronic conditions. The mental health program is based on key policies, legislations, and programs and is a result of effective local and global partnerships. This strategy is aligned with the government’s initiative to improve the quality of life in the country and bring happiness to UAE citizens and residents.  Similarly, H.E. Dr. Al Serkal announced that Al Amal Hospital has opened its new unit offering community psychiatric services. The hospital based community mental health team provides regular home visits for chronic patients with frequent relapses, elderly patients with dementia and patients incapable of attending health facilities to provide medical care, psychological counseling and social and family support. 

H.E. Dr. Al Serkal added that the Day Care Center will be opened in the new hospital to provide patients with chronic mental illness with comprehensive psychosocial and occupational rehabilitation programs. The new hospital will also set up a special office to accommodate volunteers who wish to provide assistance to patients. In line with hospital policies and procedures, all volunteers will undergo special training, especially on aspects relating to security and safety and protecting the patients’ confidential health records. He also pointed out the need to encourage scientific research activities on mental health.
For his part, H.E. Dr. Hussein Abdel-Rahman Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry’s Health & Prevention Assistant for Health Centers and Clinics Sector, said the Ministry has started integration of mental health services into primary healthcare facilities to ensure the patients’ physical and mental well-being. The Ministry is actively encouraging scientific research, the development of an efficient information technology system, and the establishment of a statistical database on mental health illnesses.

Dr. Al Kuwari said: “The Ministry launched the awareness campaign, which features lectures and other key activities, to put the spotlight on mental health illnesses, which affect about 20 per cent of the world’s population each year as a result of the changing lifestyle in a fast-paced environment and growing number of elderly people. We aim to highlight the importance of prevention and early intervention, with the provision of screening programs, essential drugs by health centers; promote communication between primary healthcare and specialized mental health centers in hospitals; and identify mental health indicators in primary healthcare information system.”