Leading Healthcare Providers in Qatar Partner to Raise Awareness about Maternal Mental Healthcare


Recognizing the importance of maternal mental health in building a healthy society, Sidra Medicine is joining hands with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Primary Healthcare Corporation (PHCC) to mark World Maternal Mental Health Day taking place on the 2ndof May 2018. The observance is part of a joint effort internationally to raise awareness about essential health concerns for pregnant women and mothers and inform families about the maternal mental health services available in Qatar.

Pregnancy, the birth of a baby, and the first year of life are exciting and life changing experiences for a woman and her family. For some women, this can be a time of mixed emotions, including feelings of anxiety and sadness, particularly if they are having pregnancy complications; have a history of previous mental health disorder or other stressful factors in their lives.

Approximately one in ten women experience significant depression or anxiety during pregnancy and/or the first year of their baby’s life. However, research shows that treatment is effective and can prevent negative impacts on the woman, her baby and family.

Sidra Medicine, HMC and PHCC are committed to providing support and consultation to all women with maternal mental health concerns. Patients and their families are encouraged to seek help from their healthcare provider who will assist with comprehensive assessment, consultation, treatment and follow-up services.

Dr. Felicia Watt

“Women of childbearing age are frequently under enormous pressure – to become pregnant and deliver a healthy baby, to provide care for their babies, children, husband and extended families, frequently in addition to working and/or studying outside of the home. Women often feel that they have to be perfect, and embarrassed or ashamed of negative feelings they may experience. What we want women to understand is that these difficulties are common, and do not mean that they are weak or a failure, that they are not alone and support and care is available and effective” Said Dr Felice Watt, Division Chief of Women’s Mental Health Service in Sidra Medicine.

For high-complexity cases, patients will be referred to Sidra Medicine’s Women’s Wellbeing Clinic. Additionally, patients can self-refer by contacting the Sidra Medicine Hotline (4003-3333) and requesting an appointment. Patients will then be triaged to determine if they meet the necessary criteria to be treated for Maternal Mental Health Care at Sidra Medicine.

“Post-partum disorders, and other mental health issues that may arise around pregnancy or maternity, are quite prevalent yet often missed, even among healthcare providers. This has serious consequences not only on the mother but the family as a whole. It is unfortunate that many mothers globally suffer unnecessarily, a preventable suffering. The treatment can be simple, and is proven to be highly effective. It is time to raise awareness and ensure women are adequately evaluated, promptly treated, and supported to function optimally within their family and the wider society. The Maternal Mental Health Day is an excellent opportunity to promote such awareness, in a collaborative manner,” said Dr. Suhaila Ghuloum, Sr. Consultant Psychiatrist at HMC.

Dr. Hessa Ibrahim Shahbic, PHCC’s Service Development Manager (Maternal & Child Health) said, “An emotionally healthy mother is essential to a baby’s health and wellbeing. At a time when a woman is highly vulnerable and experiencing an array of emotional changes, she is required to be able to attach and respond psychologically and emotionally with her baby providing the psychological foundation that an infant needs for healthy development. Our role in healthcare is to support this development, at PHCC we provide a range of maternal health services throughout the antenatal and post-natal stages, to optimize the health of the pregnant mother and her baby after delivery.”

In addition to providing maternal mental health services, Sidra Medicine, HMC and PHCC recognize the importance of raising awareness about such medical issues which may go unrecognized by patients, family members and caregivers.

To mark World Maternal Mental Health Day on 2 May, the three entities will install information booths at their premises, providing women and their families with the opportunity to ask questions and clarify concerns.

Sidra Medicine will also be hosting workshops about maternal mental health at its Patient Resource Center in the Outpatient Clinic. An Arabic-language workshop will be held on 8 May, while an English-language workshop will be held on 9 May. Both sessions are taking place from 3.00 – 4.00 pm. Due to limited seating, pre-registration is required and can be done by emailing healthpromotion@sidra.org or calling 4003-6277.