Free mental health consultations for a week in Dubai

Dubai: Half of mental health issues begin around the age of 14, but most go undetected owing to the stigma attached to mental health. Often, such cases double by the age of 20, according to a report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to mark World Mental Health Day on Wednesday.

The report added that suicide was the second highest cause of death in 15-20 year olds.

In the UAE, teenagers challenged by depression, anxiety and phobias have developed a higher risk of committing suicide, in the last two years.

However, mental health is a national priority with the UAE government, which has been taking positive steps to introduce polices and frameworks to improve mental well-being in youth and adults.

Mental health issues are a part of Dubai Health Strategy 2021 and it plans to push to remove the stigma attached to mental health through its ‘Happy Lives, Healthy Communities’ strategy, which has spurred action among stakeholders in the health industry.

Recognising the need for awareness on mental health issues among the youth, Dubai Healthcare City (DHCC) held a mental health seminar at the Amity Univeristy campus in Dubai Academic City.

Kicking off a week-long mental health awareness campaign, DHCC is also offering free mental consultation for walk-in candidates.

From October 10 to 17, DHCC-based partners American Wellness Centre; Camali Clinic Child & Adult Mental Health; Stepping Stones Centre for Autistic Spectrum Disorders; The Carbone Clinic (The Psychology Centre); The Family Therapy Clinic; and Vivamus will open their doors with complimentary consultations. Members of the public can contact 800-HEALTH to enquire about appointment scheduling, a DHCC spokesperson said.

Dr Ramadan Al Beloushi, CEO, Dubai Healthcare City — Regulatory, said: “Enabling access to mental health care and treatment is an integral part of finding long-term solutions. In line with the Dubai Government’s efforts, DHCC aims to create a culture in which people feel safe and comfortable to talk about their issues, and are guaranteed the best care. World Mental Health Day is a timely reminder to raise awareness and initiate conversations to improve mental well-being in the communities we serve.”

In DHCC, close to 30 clinical partners offer services in mental health issues that affect children and adults alike. Last year, more than 16,000 patients visited these clinics.

How colleges tackle mental health issues?

A fear of being ostracised or ridiculed and the escalating costs of psychological counselling often deter patients and their guardians from seeking active help, said mental health experts

Speaking on the occasion of World Mental Health Day, Bijal Oza, a clinical psychologist with the SP Jain School of Global Management, confirmed that in one semester that usually has 300 to 350 students aged 18-24 in graduate studies, mental health issues among young students have been multiplying. “This is true of youngsters at most academic institutions. Previously, if we had one or two students per cohort, their number has gone up to six in the last one year,” said Oza.

According to Oza, young adolescents overwhelmed by peer and social media pressures and reeling with information overload are often plagued by insecurities and develop anxiety about their academic performance. These, together, add up to severe mental health issues.

The institute not only offers psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and other counselling support, it has provided a collaborative approach to tackle mental health issues involving college staff and training a peer helper community to identify students with problems and reach out to them.

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