Community Development Authority and Dubai Health Authority unveil 6-month Mental Health Awareness Campaign

Community Development Authority and Dubai Health Authority unveil 6-month Mental Health Awareness Campaign
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Published October 3rd, 2010 - 12:17 GMT

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Community Development Authority (CDA) in Dubai in co-operation with Dubai Health Authority (DHA) unveiled the details of a Mental Health Awareness Campaign at a press conference held at CDA's headquarters.

The campaign aims to educate the community about the concept of positive mental health and provide the necessary advice to maintain it, as well as mental health facts and indicators. The two authorities seek to spread awareness on social mental health in public and private schools, universities, and Majalis Al Mamzar and Al Rashidiya.

The Mental Health Awareness Campaign coincides with the World Mental Health Day, commemorated by World Health Organisation on October 10. The campaign will be launched on Oct. 9 at Mirdif City Centre.

H.E Mr. Khaled Al Kamda, Director General – Community Development Authority said: "This initiative is part of CDA's commitment to provide high quality social and health care services for the community. The campaign is an essential step in establishing stronger linkages between CDA and other concerned government departments to achieve the goals of social integration outlined by CDA. Together with Dubai Health Authority, we work to assure the social, health and mental welfare of all segments of the society."

Mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, are widespread. One in every five people experiences a mental disorder in any given year. By 2020, the World Health Organization estimates that depression will be the second leading cause of premature death or disability worldwide.

Dr Hussein Al Masseih, social expert at CDA, said: "The campaign will focus on spreading awareness about the importance of mental health, correct misconceptions about mental illness and the stigma surrounding it, and educate people on how to deal positively with the mentally ill. For hundreds of years, mental illnesses have created distrust and fear, and people are reluctant to talk about their concerns, thoughts and feelings fearing the associated stigma".

Taking about the collaboration between the Community Development Authority and DHA's Community Mental Health Program to visit the chronically mentally ill in their homes, Dr. Alya Hamad Bin Ghanem Al Merri, Head of Psychiatry Section at Rashid Hospital said: "At the DHA, we stand behind our continued commitment to the deliver exemplary psychiatric and psychological services. As part of our Community Mental Health Program, we began visiting patients in their homes from February 2010. Since then, we have noticed a significant decrease in hospitalization cases and we continue to receive positive feedback from our patients and their families. We welcome this opportunity to continue to extend our community services through this collaboration with the CDA's social work department."

Dr. Layla Abdulwahab Asamarai, Head of Psychology Section at the Rashid Hospital said: "Supporting the mental health campaign is a vital step in reaching out to the public and helping them realize the services available to them. At DHA, our commitment to mental health is continuously growing and within the last year, not only have we reopened state-of-the- art psychiatry wards but we have also developed a community mental health program and established a psychology section that provides in-patient and outpatient psychotherapy, counseling and psychological assessment to the hospital's smoking cessation, cardiac rehabilitation, burn unit, HIV, diabetes, and trauma patients. At Rashid hospital, we are dedicated to a holistic model whereby we see our patients as whole people with multiple needs."

As part of the Campaign, leaflets will be distributed covering aspects such as positive mental health, steps for good mental health, mental health facts and warning signs, the meaning of "stigma" and the means for the treatment of mental illness. 

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