Sidra Medicine, has partnered with the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) in its national mental health and wellness campaign “Are you ok” to highlight the support services available for women, children and young people in Qatar.

Professor. Muhammed Waqar Azeem, the Chair of Psychiatry at Sidra Medicine said, “The pandemic has changed the landscape regarding the critical need for robust mental health support systems.  It is very assuring and speaks to the caliber of the healthcare services in Qatar, to see how the Ministry of Public Health and Sidra Medicine have rapidly mobilized to keep mental health on top of the country’s service agenda. At Sidra Medicine, we remain committed to supporting the people of Qatar, particularly children, young people and perinatal women in meeting their mental health care needs. In addition to world class mental health services, our Department of Psychiatry has started a number of educational and training programs and is also involved in various leading-edge mental health related research projects.”

Sidra Medicine, a QF entity, offers Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Adolescent Medicine and Perinatal Mental Health services in Qatar. The services are either referral based (in the case of children) or self-referral/ direct (perinatal mental health services).

Sidra Medicine’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is available for children ages five to eighteen (5-18) years and includes outpatient, inpatient, consultation liaison and emergency care.  The service can be accessed via referral from Primary Health Care Centers, private clinics, schools and other sources.

Dr. Ahsan Nazeer, Division Chief of CAHMS at Sidra Medicine said: “As part of our ongoing efforts to strengthen mental health support services, we have focused on patient care, education to build local human resources, research and building community models of care in Qatar.  The success of our program is based on the collaboration of patients, their relatives and our staff, who all work to help achieve patient goals to live their lives as fully possible. I am also proud of our team’s achieving accreditation for the world’s first Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education International (ACGMEI).”

“Our advice to parents dealing with children with anxiety, especially during this time, is to encourage their children to share their concerns and have frank and open discussions about their fears and concerns.  It is also important that children obtain accurate information from reliable sources.

We also encourage parents to focus on instilling a sense of hope and optimism in their children by role modelling appropriate positive behaviours,” continued Dr. Nazeer.

Dr. Alanoud Al Ansari, Division Chief of Adolescent Medicine whose clinic provides developmentally appropriate mental health and medical care for adolescents aged 12 to 18 years old, has seen a rise in anxiety in teenagers.

“Teenagers are manifesting their anxiety around loss of control and unpredictability through eating disorders, depression and cutting. Many of them have not been able to cope being back at school. Despite families being in lock down and opting to stay home during the pandemic, many families while in physical proximately remain emotionally distant and are not spending enough time to bond together as a unit. This has meant that small noticeable changes in their teens go undetected, particularly as young people are not always willing to talk about what they are going through. We encourage families to make the time to have at least one meal a day together and talk about their day – no matter how mundane. The earlier they can pick up any changes in their teens, the sooner they can give their children the support and help they need.”

Dr. Felice Watt, Division Chief of Adult Psychiatry for Women’s Mental Health at Sidra Medicine said: “Healthy pregnancies also include healthy mental health. One in five pregnant and new mothers experience mental health difficulties especially anxiety and depression.  This can also affect the pregnancy, the child, and family. Good paternal and family support can help improve mothers’ mental health during pregnancy and after childbirth. This is why it is also important that women who are pregnant or who have recently delivered a baby are asked about their emotional wellbeing. Sometimes it is difficult for women to admit to being unhappy because they expect that they “should be happy” because they are pregnant or have had a baby. Unfortunately, sad or anxious feelings are common and not the woman’s fault.  It is important to ask a woman whether is ok, and to listen without judgement and to invite her to talk further about her feelings.”

To book an appointment with the Women’s Perinatal Mental Health Service at Sidra Medicine, Pregnant women or newly delivered mothers can directly call 4003 7109 or 4003 7177 (7.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. on weekdays).

In support of the ‘Are you ok’ campaign, Dr. Felice Watt will be hosting a free webinar in English on “Supporting mental health in families” Thursday, 29th of October 2020 from 2.00 p.m. to 3.00 p.m. For details, please visit:

Qatar has set up a helpline (16000) to support people of all ages and nationalities who are looking for advice on coping with stress, anxiety and depression and other mental health disorders. The helpline is available from 8.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays, and 8.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. on Saturdays.

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