Keep health gap in mind

Doc­tor: Fo­cus needed on men­tal ill­ness

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - By Ma­hak Man­nan @Ma­hak_LFC ma­hak@7days.ae

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

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