The Education Above All Foundation (EAA), in agreement with Sidra Medicine, announced an initiative to provide critical mental health support to students of Assalam schools in Qatar.

This collaboration marks a significant milestone in EAA's commitment to ensuring the well-being of vulnerable and low-income students, enabling them to access quality mental health services.

The Assalam schools, initiated under the Together Project by the Education Above All Foundation, established through tri-party agreements with Qatar's Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MOEHE) and various donor bodies, serve a critical role in providing education to students who are unable to access public or private schooling due to financial, logistical, or other barriers. Currently, five Assalam Schools cater to a cumulative student population of more than 3,600 students aged between 7 and 18 years.

Sidra Medicine's Child and Adolescent Mental Health division will offer comprehensive mental health support to the students of Assalam schools through this agreement. These services will include psychiatric and psychological assessments, medication management, and follow-up care for mental health issues, complemented by specialized psychological testing for IQ and standardized rating evaluations.

In this context, Director of EAA's Al Fakhoora Program Talal Al Hathal said: "this partnership embodies our commitment to the holistic well-being of our students, recognizing that mental health is foundational to educational success; collaborating with Sidra Medicine enables us to address severe mental health challenges that cannot be managed within the schools' resources, ensuring our students have the support they need to thrive."

Al Hathal added that Sidra Medicine's expertise in pediatric and adolescent psychiatry will be instrumental in providing timely and effective mental health care. Referrals will be managed through a streamlined process, ensuring urgent and routine cases are addressed within specified time frames.

Chair of Psychiatry at Sidra Medicine Prof. Muhammed Waqar Azeem, said: "our collaboration with EAA is unique and special as it promises easier access to our mental health services for those students in need of mental health support. By providing care in such a way, we are jointly creating an environment where seeking help is normalized and encouraged. With this partnership, both our organizations are committed to providing the best mental health support for the students of Assalam schools."

The partnership also includes a robust Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) process to assess the effectiveness and impact of the mental health services provided, with an aim to continuously improve the quality, accessibility, and appropriateness of care. This agreement reflects a shared vision between EAA and Sidra Medicine to invest in the future of children youth in Qatar, ensuring that every child, regardless of their background, has access to the mental health support they need to succeed in school and beyond. (QNA)
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