Ministry of Health organises 1st Virtual Conference on Mental Health

DUBAI, The First Virtual MoHAP Mental Health Conference, which is organised by the Ministry of Health and Prevention, has kicked off today bringing together an elite group of local and international mental health specialists and experts from several countries, including the UAE, Canada, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Oman, and Kuwait.

Held in partnership with Maudsley Health and with the support of Lundbeck Gulf, the online event will run until October 24 under the theme of “A New Era in Mental Health Response”.

In addition to discussing the impact of trauma on the development of mental health issues among children and adults, the conference will also address the psychological, social and behavioural effects of Covid-19 on children and adolescents, people with intellectual disability, mental health challenges during the pandemic and how to overcome such challenges It will also shed light on local and international experiences in telepsychiatry and virtual therapeutic methods used to treat the misuse of psychotropic substances. Other important topics to be discussed also include addiction, viral diseases transmitted through the blood, eating disorders among children and adolescents, dementia and early dementia, diagnosis and treatment of secondary psychosis caused by epilepsy.

Dr. Yousif Mohammed Al Serkal, Director-General of the Emirates Health Services Establishment, said: “The conference represents a real added value to the mental health sector, given it will discuss a wide range of vital topics focusing on the latest global developments related to the outbreak of Covid-19 by an elite group of mental health experts, senior clinical practitioners and academics.

Today’s conference comes in line with the ministry’s plans to organise virtual international events and build regional and global partnerships in the field of telepsychiatry, something which will help develop and train medical and technical personnel in the field of mental health. The conference will also support the implementation of the National Programme for Mental Health to achieve social, psychological and professional empowerment of patients, strengthen and develop preventive mental health programmes and early detection of mental illnesses”.

Al Serkal affirmed that the ministry spares no effort to develop, conduct and publish scientific research and studies in international journals specialized in mental health, in addition to developing a mental health information system and preparing a comprehensive national statistical database for mental health to support the continuity and quality of health care for members of society.

“Launching the First Virtual International Conference on Mental Health comes as part of the ministry’s series of events being organized to mark the World Mental Health Week Campaign, which aims to promote the public awareness on mental health issues and mobilise efforts to resolve these issues, reduce social stigma, in addition to directing more attention to the needs of community members of mental health care during COVID-19,” said Dr. Mona Al Kuwari, Director of the Specialised Care Department.

Meanwhile, Dr. Amna Turki Al Ali, President of the Conference and Director of Al Amal Hospital, revealed that the conference will bring together a number of prominent clinical practitioners, academics, and mental health experts to deliberate and discuss mental health issues and highlight the latest developments in psychiatry research across its various specialities, such as child and adolescents mental health, older adults mental health, ID psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, addiction treatment and rehabilitation, mental disability, among other important topics.

Participants will be able to take part in the virtual event by accessing its website, which allows them to view various mental health services provided by the ministry, as well as the mental health awareness activities and community initiatives conducted in 2020.

The conference also delivers several accredited training workshops in cognitive behavioural therapy, CBT, and motivational interview techniques for psychotherapists and primary health care workers. The CBT is a form of psychological treatment that is recommended to be used in primary healthcare centres, as a first step in treatment for mild and moderate cases before drug therapy or referral to mental health services for secondary care.


Source: Emirates News Agency

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