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Posted On: 11 April 2019 10:07 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:20 pm

Ministry of Public Health to promote mental health

Khadiza Begum
Khadiza Begum
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As part of the implementation of the National Health Strategy (NHS) 2018-2022, the Ministry of Public Health has set out a plan to promote Mental Health and well-being and improve access to mental health services, with a national target that ensures that 40 percent of services are offered in the primary and community settings by 2022.

The plan, which is already in its implementation phase, focuses on increasing awareness about mental health with the aim of reducing stigma. This will be achieved through conducting national surveys on mental health attitudes and awareness, delivering training programs on childrens mental health for families, health professionals, and education providers, as well as developing educational and public awareness 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, with the aim of enabling people to access services in mainstream health facilities.

"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 about the importance of Mental Health & Wellbeing. There is a major challenge in breaking down the stigma that is often associated with Mental Health and our National Health Strategy has started to tackle this. This will be done through 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 the appropriate help and support when required," said National Lead for the Mental Health and Well-being NHS 2018-2022 priority population Iain Tulley.

There is a rising incidence of people experiencing Mental Health issues across the world. According to the World Health Organization, one in four people will suffer from some kind of mental illness at some point in their lives. In Qatar, a recent study of visitors to Primary Health Care Centers, showed that the percentage adults who suffered from at least one type of mental disorder is in line with the international percentage.

Key stakeholders from across the Qatar health sector including the Ministry of Public Health, Hamad Medical Corporation, Primary HealthCare Corporation and Naufar, worked collaboratively to develop a robust plan for this priority population.

Work is underway to implement the Mental Health Law, which was enacted in 2016. The law safeguards the rights of people with Mental illness and those of their family and will be overseen by an independent authority that will monitor the implementation of the law. Relevant training will be provided to the health sector professionals to enable and ensure consistency and compliance in service provision to achieve better outcomes for those accessing mental health services.

A further priority is to better understand the prevalence of mental health conditions within Qatar to ensure that services can be developed and tailored to the needs of the different population groups.

The NHS 2018-2022 is one of eight different sector strategies, under the National Development Strategy 2018-2022, which aim to deliver the Qatar National Vision 2030 of "Improving the health of Qatars population, through an integrated healthcare system, managed according to world-class standards, designed to meet the needs of existing and future generations."

The Strategy was launched under the theme Our Health, Our Future, and reflects a global shift in thinking by taking a population health approach. It identifies seven priority population groups and five priority areas for system wide focus.

The priority populations reflect an investment in both the current and future generations and in particular, our most vulnerable individuals, including children, mothers, older people and those with special needs.

The system-wide areas focus on the health system continuum, providing a genuinely integrated model of care that strives to maintain wellness, while making sure that people receive well-coordinated care, delivered in a professional and safe environment at the appropriate level.

Her Excellencys the Minister of Public Health Dr. Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari appointed 12 National Health Strategy Leads to lead the planning and implementation for the 12 Strategy priorities. A dedicated taskforce, including key stakeholders from different organizations from within and outside of the health sector, has been developed for each priority to oversee the implementation of the plans with the aim of achieving their targets by 2022. (QNA)