Sidra Medicine, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) will jointly host a conference in support of World Maternal Mental Health Day (WMMHD) on 11 May 2022.
The free hybrid (virtual and in-person) event, is based on the theme “'Stronger Together'; Supporting Women Worldwide on our Journey through Maternal Mental Health Care” and is inspired by the disparities that came to light during the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for services to develop alongside complex and evolving patient needs.
Dr. Zainab Imam, Acting Division Chief of Women’s Mental Health at Sidra Medicine, and the Chair for the WMMHD conference said: “Pregnancy, the birth of a baby, and the first year of life are exciting and life-changing experiences for a woman and her family; but for some women, this can be a time of mixed emotions, including feelings of anxiety and sadness for various reasons. We are aware that it is not easy for many women or their families to open up about emotional or psychosocial challenges relating to their pregnancy; whether due to fear of being judged and stigma attached to mental ill-health. The more we discuss various important topics relating to perinatal mental health, the easier it will be for women and families to ask for help and receive it. This conference facilitates an open and culturally sensitive discussion that will resonate with clinicians, women and their families.”
Topics on the agenda will cover the provision of mental health services in Qatar; the impact of WMMHD; gender sensitive service provisions, and public health and developments specific to the region. Key local speakers will include representatives from Sidra Medicine, Hamad Medical Corporation, the RCPsych Perinatal Faculty and Middle Eastern Division and Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health.
International speakers include Dr. Jo Black, Chair of the Perinatal Faculty of the Royal College of Psychiatrists; Wendy Davis, Co-Founder of World Maternal Mental Health Day, and host of the WMMHD International Taskforce and Executive Director of Postpartum Support International; Dr. Khalid Saeed, WHO Middle East Regional Adviser (Mental Health and Substance Use Programme) and; Dr. Alain Gregoire, Chair, Global Alliance for Maternal Mental Health. Adding culturally aware advice from a community perspective is Ms. Najla Al-Kuwari from the Young Mothers Qatar group, who will give an insight into the needs of women’s mental health in Qatar.
Dr. Sazgar Hamad, Clinical Lead for Virtual Women’s Mental Health Service, Women’s Wellness and Perinatal Services, HMC, and Co-Chair of the WMHHD conference said: “We are slowly emerging from the effects of a global pandemic that has affected many population groups over the past couple of years, especially vulnerable groups such as women experiencing perinatal mental health challenges. The pandemic has provided a unique opportunity to discuss mental health challenges more openly in a wider public forum than ever before. It has also been the genesis for the establishment of new culturally sensitive services that make it easier for individuals to seek professional help. With this conference we want to help address many of the societal taboos. Our joint commitment is to support new and expectant mothers and that this will have a positive impact on our wider society.”
The conference, which will be accredited for up to 4 CPD hours by the RCPsych, is open to Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Mental Health Nurses, Obstetricians, Midwives, Social Workers, Primary Care Physicians, Mothers and their Families.
Dr. Ovais Wadoo, Senior consultant in the Community Mental Health Services at HMC and Chair of the Middle East Division of the Royal College of Psychiatrists said: “The World Maternal Mental Health Day conference is a product of a partnership between the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Hamad Medical Corporation and Sidra Medicine. I am confident that the event will set the scene for a much-needed focus on maternal mental health. The sessions will provide unique insight into maternal healthcare provision in Qatar and provide opportunities for professional development for a wide variety of healthcare providers from a diverse set of disciplines. The learning will be relevant to the wider Middle East region and may also help other countries in the region when developing and enhancing their maternal mental health services.”