Posted on September 25, 2016

Due to the extensive work of Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) to positively engage the patients and their families who use its services, there has been an increase in the number of those seeking mental health care within the community.

Dr. Hanan Derby, Director of CAMHS and Senior Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist said: “Mental health services in Qatar are being viewed differently nowadays and we are receiving an increasing number of users. We have also been able to gain the trust of those people who use our services and their family members knowing that they will not be stigmatized due to their mental illness and that their information and health history are safe and highly confidential.” 

Extensive work by HMC’s  [].jpgCAMHS, part of HMC’s Mental Health Services officially opened at Muaither Complex 2 in April, and the center is achieving great success in providing much-needed mental health care to young patients aged up to 18 years. CAMHS runs routine booked clinics all days of the week except Wednesday, however, it attends to all emergency and urgent cases five days a week. Wednesday is considered as the CAMHS team day for referral and allocation meetings, business meetings and educational activities. The center’s service users include children with varying types of mental health disorders and conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder as well as other psychological and physiological problems. 

Presently, the center receives between 20-35 referrals each week and it caters to over 1000 patients every month. According to Dr. Derby, CAMHS has been providing seamless patient-centered service which aims at providing support to the whole family with the child at the core. “The aims of this new service are to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to mental health care, to ensure the right assessment and diagnosis are provided and the recipients of the service receive the best quality care they can get,” she explained.

“Our model of care strives to support patients towards recovery and self-management. The service went through an inspiring journey and overcame significant challenges through team work cohesion and perseverance,” she said. Dr. Derby recalled that over the past two years, extensive work has been done to establish service policies and procedures including the development of operational policies, a service model, a staffing structure and the internal and external referral pathways.

“A clear response time with a well-defined but flexible appointment booking system was established in the operational policy. Additionally, referral and exclusion criteria were identified to guide the team and external agencies in the referral process. One of our targets is providing smooth access to all families on the bases of their clinical needs. As such, the established screening clinic model outlines the process of prioritizing cases,” she explained. Dr. Derby said the screening clinic is led by a member of the senior nursing staff in consultation with medical leads. Additionally, a triage system has been developed for cases that were identified as not urgent. The clinical work provided includes assessment, diagnosis and pharmacological and psychological intervention in an outpatient clinic environment that is suitable for young people and their families.

Continuous training and education of staff is an integral part of the service to deliver effective care provided by a mixed skills multidisciplinary team. “By providing consultation and training, CAMHS works in partnership with other health social care and education providers in the country.  The center presently has 12 members of staff comprising one senior consultant, six nurses including a senior nurse, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, an occupational therapist and a speech therapist,” Dr. Derby added.