Keep health gap in mind
Doctor: Focus needed on mental illness
A lack of adult mental health services in the UAE needs to be addressed, a conference was told yesterday.
Speaking at the Mental Health in Adults Conference in Abu Dhabi, Dr Martin Baggaley, Consultant Psychiatrist and Chief Medical Officer at the Maudsley Hospital Clinic Abu Dhabi, said: “The Health Authority Abu Dhabi has identified that there is a real gap in mental health services in Abu Dhabi.”
Baggaley said that more experts and specialist facilities are needed.
“There is a real shortage of clinics and quality psychologists and psychiatrists to deal with mental health issues among adults.”
Baggaley was speaking as Maudsley prepares to expand its facilities and the number of doctors it has in Abu Dhabi.
He added: “Most mental health issues start from childhood, but they still have a huge impact in adult life. Mental health illnesses are the biggest cause of lost days at work, unhappiness and depression among most adults.
“If you look at the figures there seems to be an under provision in Abu Dhabi for mental health services for adults as compared to other countries in the Gulf. There don’t seem to be enough psychologists for the population here either.”
The Maudsley Abu Dhabi, which has been operating as a child and adolescent facility since 2015, will begin taking adult patients as of next month.
Baggaley said: “We plan to start with a team of four to five members from the Maudsley in London and then expand over the next 12 months based on what issues we need to deal with over here.
“The most common issues among adults with mental health problems in the UAE include depression and anxiety.”
Baggaley urged whose who need support to seek help.
He said: “One of the big things we have to do is make people realise it is completely acceptable for a grown individual to get treated for a mental health disorder.
“Stigma is a big issue and we need to slowly change that outlook by raising awareness about how many adults face mental health issues
on a regular basis.”
‘Mental health illnesses are the biggest cause of lost days at work... among adults.’ – Dr Martin Baggaley