16 Apr 2018 - 9:16
Sidra Medicine creates awareness about adolescent mental health
Doha: The Sidra Medicine Child and Adolescent Psychiatry team has undertaken a robust community engagement program for 2018 to complement its pediatric and adolescent mental health services.
Over the coming months, the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry team will be attending several school and community events to raise awareness of mental health topics and ways in which Sidra Medicine experts can help.
These events include the fourth Annual Symposium of Community Mental Health Services in Qatar on April 19; the Renaud Academy’s workshop on “Autism: Seeing the Spectrum differently” on 25 April and a joint one day symposium in collaboration with American School of Doha. This is in addition to the presentation Qatar Foundation (QF) school meetings where staff from all QF schools come together to share expertise.
Highlighted in a recent Northwestern University in Qatar study on “Health Information and Monitoring Among Qatari Adolescents” as an area where more accurate resources are needed in Qatar, adolescent mental health is one of the core services offered as part of Sidra Medicine’s approach to the care of children and young people.
One of the key messages the team hopes to share with the community is the need for more awareness and education about teen depression. Depression is one of the most common mental health problems among adolescents and begins during early teenage years.
It is a biological disorder that is triggered by external events, making adolescents especially vulnerable as they are going through hormonal changes, increased pressure and expectations associated with adulthood. By the end of their teen years, 20 percent of adolescents would have experienced at least one depressive episode.
Depression can manifest through both physical and mental symptoms, including headaches, indigestion, appetite and weight changes, sleeping too much or lack of sleep, anxiety, nervousness, tearfulness, feelings of hopelessness, problems in attention and concentration, losing enjoyment in activities, isolation and sadness.
Untreated depression can lead to a slew of serious issues, including substance abuse, academic failure, bullying (30 percent for those bullied and 19 percent for those doing the bullying), eating and other disorders and suicide.
Depression is treatable if patients seek help and Sidra Medicine is committed to ensuring that parents, family members, teachers, school counsellors and others are aware of the signs and treatment options available to them in Qatar.
Dr. Ahsan Nazeer, Division Chief, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Sidra Medicine, suggested that parents should look for changes in function and behavior. This includes a drop in grades, increased incidents of social conflict, withdrawal from the social scene and patterns of anger and irritability.
Referrals to Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Sidra Medicine can be initiated by a School Counselor by completing a Sidra Medicine referral form. School counselors can email OPCReferrals@sidra.org to request for more details.