To mark this year’s World Mental Health Day (WMHD), Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Department of Psychiatry recently organized a creative painting session that provided opportunities for patients, who are in a recovery phase, and their families as well as staff members to paint images that represent positive mental health.
WMHD, observed every 10th of October, is the annual global celebration of mental health education, awareness and advocacy, where communities join together to shine a spotlight on a particular aspect of mental health or illness.
The purpose of HMC’s event, which contributes to supporting the aims outlined within the Qatar National Mental Health Strategy led by the Supreme Council of Health (SCH), was to celebrate positive mental health through creative painting activities, which as a fun and social activity also served to strengthen the mental health community.
Patients, along with their friends and family, and staff from the Department of Psychiatry, enjoyed expressing their creative ideas around positive mental health during the afternoon event. The workshop was jointly coordinated by Dr. Hazem Hashem, Acting Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Ms. Barbara Burnette, Director of Interior Design at HMC’s Health Facilities Planning and Design and Ms. Bonnie Vincent, Assistant Executive Director of the National Mental Health Program at SCH.
At the event, the Department of Psychiatry’s staff members were thanked for all of their hard work and for their commitment during an important period of change and development – which is still ongoing as the Department works towards the aims of the Strategy. Also, the Department took the opportunity of the event to showcase artwork and crafts produced by patients over the past years as part of their occupational therapy service.
Dr. Hashem said as the main provider of specialist mental health care in Qatar, the Department provides comprehensive services for adults and children with mental illnesses and disorders across the spectrum of diagnoses and severity.
“HMC is committed to providing the people of Qatar with family-centered mental health care and access to specialized services which are tailored to their needs, including care in community settings. We also help children and adults living with mental illness to manage their condition, enabling them to live full, productive and healthy lives,” he said.
Dr. Hashem explained that mental illness is common across the world and it can affect anyone, at any time in their life; it is not exclusive to certain types of people or to people who are in very specific social circumstances.
“It is possible to look after your own mental health by recognizing and avoiding certain risk factors and recognizing and getting involved in certain activities and lifestyle choices,” he said, adding: “Mental illness is treatable, especially if identified early, and people can recover and go on to live fulfilling, productive lives.”
Ms. Burnette, who voluntarily led the art session, said art has great therapeutic effects on mental health and the general well-being of every human being as it allows people to unwind and get away from their troubled state of mind. “Painting gives one a great feeling and the process involved can help every individual, including those with mental illness to overcome their condition, because for that moment when they are painting, their mind is fixed on the image they are painting and not on their mental condition.”
Ms. Bonnie Vincent, Assistant Executive Director of the National Mental Health Program at SCH said: “The aim of this community event is to capture the well-being of every one, because what we often see is the illness side of mental health but everybody can do things to take care of their mental health. Doing this involves getting together with people; enjoying the ambience and having fun together while creating something new like learning a new hobby or re-discovering the hobby you haven’t done in a while, such as painting…that gives you a good feeling.”
Any person who is experiencing symptoms of a mental health issue should seek treatment as soon as possible by making an appointment to see a doctor, who will then refer them to HMC’s specialist services. In an emergency situation, call 999 for an ambulance or present to the Emergency Department.
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Hamad Medical Corporation