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Story | Community
25 August 2021

QF’s Qatar Reads and HMC explain why women must ask for help when their mental health is at risk

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When mental health issues arise, talking about them is vital

Image source: BlurryMe, via Shutterstock

Health experts discuss the counseling and psychological support available for women

Women in Qatar must speak out if they are facing mental health challenges because help is at hand, experts from Hamad Medical Corporation have said at a discussion session held in collaboration with Qatar Foundation’s Qatar Reads initiative and Qatar National Library.

As long as they have the opportunity to talk to someone. It is really important for people to share their experiences with a psychologist, so they can get the right help they need.

Dr. Majid Al Abdulla

The event – titled Mother’s Mental Health – was held as part of the Mommy to Be program, which falls under Qatar Reads and is targeted at pregnant women and new mothers. It provides educational reading materials and a curated reading program for children from birth to two years of age as well as workshops on health and parenthood, with the aim of supporting families, building family relationships, and instilling and promoting healthy values across families in Qatar.

Dr. Majid Al Abdulla, Senior Consultant and Chairman of Psychiatry at HMC.

The session discussed women’s psychological and psychosocial support services at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), and the objectives of mental health nursing, family therapy, and its uses in psychology and psychiatry. It also focused on the role of pharmacists in providing pharmaceutical care to improve the mental health of women in Qatar, occupational therapy, the role of social workers and nutritionists, and the importance of proper nutrition.

Speakers emphasized the importance of psychiatry and its positive impact on people’s behaviors, with Dr. Majid Al Abdulla, Senior Consultant and Chairman of Psychiatry at HMC, saying: “Most people can live well and be mentally healthy, as long as they have the opportunity to talk to someone. It is really important for people to share their experiences with a psychologist for psychological health problems, and a psychiatrist for more serious mental health issues, so they can get the right help they need."

The Women’s Mental Health team provides multidisciplinary support for women experiencing psychologically challenging times, avoiding the escalation of mental health problems and their impact on a woman’s quality of life

Dr. Sazgar Abdullah Hamad

Dr. Sazgar Abdullah Hamad, clinical leader for HMC’s Women’s Wellness Center, virtual women’s consultation, and perinatal service said: “The Women’s Mental Health team provides multidisciplinary support for women experiencing psychologically challenging times, avoiding the escalation of mental health problems and their impact on a woman’s quality of life. In addition, our goal is to inform and empower women to help them manage their daily mental health and wellbeing challenges in positive and constructive ways.

Dr. Sazgar Abdullah Hamad, clinical leader for HMC’s Women’s Wellness Center, virtual women’s consultation, and perinatal service.

"This program is the first of its kind in Qatar, and is one of the most effective methods even at an international level, with digital and face-to-face services being available and those who use its hotline being able to get a digital consultation within 72 hours of calling."

Dr. Sazgar added that the mental health team plans to carry out home visits in the future in case a female patient does not wish to go to hospital, offering them the option of receiving treatment from home.

Self-esteem is very important to feeling happy. If someone does not feel satisfied with themselves, it is difficult to feel satisfied with anything else

Dr. Maha Al-Subaie

Dr. Maha Al-Subaie, Clinical Fellow, HMC, emphasized that all consultations are subject to strict confidentiality, and are kept in a separate system from the main hospital system, saying: “The center provides a virtual mental health service for women, through which we receive psychological cases and cases of mental illnesses. We provide professional and compassionate support for the mental health of pregnant and breastfeeding women, and provide psychological consultations for those who have lost their loved ones. Treatment include both medication and psychological counselling as needed, with consultations subject to complete confidentiality and privacy.”

"Self-esteem is very important to feeling happy. If someone does not feel satisfied with themselves, it is difficult to feel satisfied with anything else."

Dr. Maysam Medhat Abdel Wahab, a psychiatrist and family therapist at HMC, explained that if a family member has a psychological or mental disorder, it can affect the rest of the family, and this demonstrates the importance of family therapy in complementing the treatment of mental illnesses.

Family therapy is used to treat psychological conditions and behavior disorders, and in general it is considered a successful way to treat psychological problems that arise among family members

Dr. Maysam Medhat Abdel Wahab

“Family therapy is used to treat psychological conditions and behavior disorders, and in general it is considered a successful way to treat psychological problems that arise among family members,” she said.

"This type of treatment can be used for whole families or individual family members. It is not limited to adults, but also extends to children, especially those who suffer from emotional and behavioral disorders resulting from family problems."

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In cooperation with Qatar Reads, health experts at HMC discussed the counseling and psychological support available for women.

The session also presented a case study of two women from Qatar’s community, illustrating the nature of the cases received by the Women’s Wellness Center, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Those interested in receiving counseling should contact the HMC hotline at 16000, where they will be able to speak to a team consisting of psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists, nurses, pharmacists, and nutritionists within 72 hours. The hotline is available from 9am-5pm, from Saturday to Thursday. To subscribe to Qatar Reads’ Mommy to Be Program, visit www.qatarreads.qa, and follow @QatarReads on Instagram for details of its events.

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