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Tribune News Network
THE Ministry of Public Health has chalked out a plan to promote mental health and wellbeing and improve access to mental health services as part of the implementation of the National Health Strategy (NHS) 2018-2022.
The ministry has set a target of providing 40 percent of mental health services in the primary and community settings by 2022.
There is a rising incidence of people experiencing mental health issues across the world, including Qatar. According to the World Health Organization, one in four people suffers from some kind of mental illness at some point in their lives. In Qatar, a recent study of visitors to the primary health care centres, showed that the percentage of adults who suffered from at least one type of mental disorder was in line with the international number.
The negative attitudes and stigma often associated with mental illness makes many patients reluctant to seek treatment and support.
“Mental health is as critical as physical health in maintaining our wellbeing. There is no health without mental health. There is much to do to change attitudes and ensure that the negative views of mental illness are replaced by a much greater understanding of the importance of mental health and wellbeing. Therefore, our National Health Strategy has started to tackle this by
raising public awareness, encouraging people to talk about their feelings and educating them to identify and avoid risk factors and protect themselves and their loved ones from mental illness, as well as encouraging them to seek appropriate help and support when required,” said Iain Tulley, national lead for Mental Health and Wellbeing, NHS 2018-2022.
Key stakeholders from across Qatar’s health sector, including Ministry of Public Health, Hamad Medical Corporation, Primary Health Care Corporation and Naufar, collaborated to develop a robust plan for this priority population.
The plan, which is already in its implementation phase, focuses on increasing awareness about mental health and reducing stigma through conducting national surveys on attitudes towards mental health, holding training programmes on children’s mental health for families, health professionals and education providers, as well as organising drug prevention campaigns.
In addition, the plan aims to improve access to integrated mental health services in primary and community settings, which are free from the stigma often associated with psychiatric facilities.
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