Part of WISH, DHW session encouraged people to talk more openly and ask for professional help when needed
To raise awareness on the importance of mental health, especially now, amid the current pandemic, Doha Healthcare Week – part of the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) – played host to a session titled Are you ok?
The session was held as part of a wider campaign – of the same name – launched by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in collaboration with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), Sidra Medicine, and Naufar.
During the Doha Healthcare Week (DHW) discussion, speakers encouraged participants to pay attention to their own mental health and the mental health of those around them, urging people to talk openly about the issues they are facing, and to seek professional support when needed.
Dr. Iain Tulley, CEO of Mental Health at HMC and Director of the National Health Strategy at MoPH, said: “There are many reasons and restrictions that make people around the world reluctant to openly and frankly discuss mental issues they might have and to seek professional help – although, it is the best way to help them ease their suffering. One of the reasons is the belief that if they say they are receiving mental care treatment, their family, professional, and social life will be negatively affected.”
There are many reasons and restrictions that make people around the world reluctant to openly and frankly discuss mental issues they might have and to seek professional help
Speakers in the session also stressed the value of the existing collaboration between primary, public, and specialized healthcare for mental health. And, while many mental health clinics closed their doors and canceled direct treatment sessions – because of COVID – people were still able to access virtual mental health services and consult with specialists.
Dr. Majid Al Abdulla, Director of Mental Health at HMC, noted the importance of the national mental health helpline that was launched during the pandemic, and described it as a big achievement in the mental health sector in Qatar. Owing to the helpline, he explained, the number of people who spoke about their mental health symptoms and sought professional help increased by 60 to 70 percent.
“These virtual services made it easy for people to access mental healthcare services and enabled the healthcare system to meet the increasing demand for professional mental health support during the pandemic,” Dr. Al Abdulla said.
Physical health is part of mental health. They complement each other to ensure a person’s health and wellbeing
Fear of death from the virus, isolation, and loneliness due to worldwide lockdowns were among the major mental distresses that COVID-19 caused among people of various ages.
During the virtual session, Dr. Ahmad Surur, consultant psychiatrist at Al Wakra Hospital, offered tips and best practices that can help people protect their mental health. These include getting sufficient and uninterrupted sleep, adopting healthy lifestyles, avoiding bad habits, following doctor’s instructions, practicing hobbies, learning new skills, avoiding negative thoughts, and maintaining contact with family and friends.
“Physical health is part of mental health,” Dr. Surur said. “They complement each other to ensure a person’s health and wellbeing.”
WISH is Qatar Foundation’s global health initiative, and the second edition of DHW took place from November 8-14, ahead of its five-day global summit. Register to attend the virtual WISH 2020 at 2020.wish.org.qa