October 10 is “World Mental Health Day” – the observance is marked every year as an opportunity to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.
Dr. Muhammad Waqar Azeem, MD is the inaugural Chair of Psychiatry at Sidra. He is responsible for setting standards for world class patient and family centered care, outstanding teaching and education for medical students, residents and fellows and innovative cutting edge research in general psychiatry and child & adolescent psychiatry. The Department of Psychiatry at Sidra is a primary source for child and adolescent mental health care in Qatar.
“We work with schools and other stakeholders because it requires a broad, holistic approach to address the mental health of children and adolescents,” Dr. Azeem explained. “Sidra’s approach fits in perfectly with this year’s World Mental Health Day theme, which emphasizes a community-wide strategy. We don’t just treat the disorders that children and adolescents present with; we also promote awareness and prevention. We need the support of the community to achieve this.”
The Department philosophy is to be child and family centered. This involves bringing a personal touch to child and youth care. For example, the family receives a full report for each child after the initial evaluation, and child’s strengths are important part of the evaluation.
At Sidra we understand that mental health is a critical part of healthcare and is an essential aspect of having a hospital that provides a wide range of services. In terms of mental health, Dr. Waqar has a few suggestions on what you can do to be aware of the signs to support your family or friends who may require help:
- Be aware of the signs
- Has someone you know become quiet and withdrawn?
- Are they isolating themselves?
- Do they seem generally unhappy and negative about life?
- Have they lost interest in activities they used to enjoy?
- Has their behavior changed in significant and negative ways?
- If you are a parent, is your child behaving out of character? Does he or she no longer want to go to school? Does he or she seem worried, anxious, or withdrawn?
- Sudden drop in academics
- Be a listener, offer support and build trust
- Encourage the other person to seek help if a medical intervention seems to be needed