Posted on April 06, 2017

Qatar University College of Health Sciences (QU-CHS) organized on April 5 a community outreach event to mark the 2017 World Health Organization Day.

Themed “Depression: let us talk”, the event aimed to raise community awareness on depression, its causes, consequences such as suicide, and ways of treatment and prevention.Attendees included CHS Dean and QU Biomedical Research Center (BRC) Director Dr Asma Al Thani and QU faculty, students and staff.

The event’s program included eight lectures presented by CHS Associate Professor and Head of Human Nutrition Department Dr Abdelhamid Kerkadi, CHS Associate Professor of Nutrition Dr Vijay Ganji (pictured), CHS Biomedical Department Associate Professor of Pathophysiology and Endocrinology Dr Nasser M Rizk, CHS Associate Professor of Health Economics Dr Shafqat Shehzad, CPH Assistant Professor of Pharmacology Dr Shankar Munusamy, HMC Senior Consultant Mental Hospital Dr Abdel Monem Abdel Hakim, HMC FRCPsych Senior Consultant Psychiatrist  and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) Dr Suhaila Ghuloum, and Qatar Armed Forces Medical Services Consultant Dr Asma Amin.

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They discussed a wide range of issues related to depression such as  “What is Depression?”, “Burnout syndrome and depression”, “Depression in young adults”,  “Vitamin D Deficiency and Depression”, “Genetic and Depression”, “Economy and Depression”, “Obesity and depression”, and “Drugs side effects and its relation to depression”. Also on the program was a poster session presented by CHS students on “Postpartum Depression”, “Geriatric Depression”, and “Genetic Depression”.

In her remarks, Dr Asma Al Thani noted that depression affects people of all ages and that it may occur with other serious medical illnesses. She said: “Depression impacts on people’s ability to earn a living and to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks with sometimes devastating consequences on relationships with family and friends. Depression can lead to suicide. It is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds.” She added: “This event comes as part of CHS commitment to raise community awareness on health issues that are relevant to the Qatari society. I would like to express my appreciation to all those who participated in this event and I applaud their energetic efforts in supporting the full agenda on depression.”

Dr Nasser Rizk, who is also leading the event, said: “Depression is not just sadness. It can disturb you mentally through feelings of frustration, worthlessness, hopelessness, and helplessness, which causes loss of enthusiasm and poor awareness and concentration. It can change the body weight, the sleeping patterns, and the body system activities and depress the immune system. But even though depression can cause the subject to feel helpless and hopeless, there is always support and help for improvement.”