Dubai, UAE, October 21, 2018: This year, the World Health Organization’s Mental Health Day theme was announced as “Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World”. Today, with the youth generation facing constant stressors and challenges such as bullying, academic pressures, wide usage of technology/social media and major mental illnesses like depression and anxiety – all at a time in their life when they are going through so many changes internally and externally, never has the need been greater to understand and focus on young people’s mental health.
The LightHouse Arabia, a community mental health and wellness center on Al Wasl Road, leads the way in helping to improve mental health in the region. They have just announced their newly formed multidisciplinary Child & Adolescent Mental Health Team, which includes certified and licensed psychiatrists, counseling psychologists, clinical psychologists, a speech and language therapist, and behavioral therapists. This highly qualified team of clinicians have set up services that will be addressing all the mental health needs of young people and their parents within our community including individual therapy, behavioral and educational assessments, behavioral therapy, group therapy, medication assessment and management, support groups, and parent education and support.
Recent research shows that worldwide, 10–20% of children and adolescents experience mental health difficulties. Half of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14, and three-quarters by mid-20s with mental health problems, in particular depression, being one of the largest illnesses amongst young people.
The mental health and overall health of our youth and future generations has significant implications on our society as a whole, including increased use of illicit substances, criminal behaviours, drop out of education and delinquent behaviours. Therefore, being able to identify and understand young people’s mental health concerns, how to prevent issues early on and how to optimize development in this area, are key to the future success of our society.
“The statistics show that so many young people, worldwide, are struggling. Sadly, the same is true in the UAE. The academic pressures, life stressors, the high use of social media and technology, and the constant state of change, all contribute to making kids in this part of the world even more vulnerable. We need to do our parts as parents and educators to teach them the skills for social and emotional wellbeing, so that today’s youth can be resilient in the face of life’s difficulties in a changing world.” - Dr. Saliha Afridi, Clinical Psychologist & Managing Director, The LightHouse Arabia
The newly created Child & Adolescent Mental Health Team includes a number of new key hires in The LightHouse Team – Dr Salman Wahid (Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist) who is US board certified with over 12 years’ experience working with young clients, and Rogaiyah Hamidaddin (Speech and Language Therapist – English/Arabic) who has significant experience working in the diagnosis and treatment of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), language impairments, fluency disorders and learning disabilities.
The team will focus on offering a full range of services to support children and their families facing mental health disorders, as well as offering guidance, events and training to help develop positive mental health in the youth of the UAE.
The LightHouse Arabia was founded in 2011 by clinical psychologists Dr. Saliha Afridi and Dr. Tara Wyne, whose shared mission and vision is to make the region happier and healthier. With an international team of over 20 licensed psychologists and psychiatrists,
The LightHouse is a community mental health and wellness center providing quality care to children, adults, couples and families. The LightHouse also work with corporations, schools, hospitals and other institutions to promote mental wellness through education and training programs. The center is also home to the Raymee Grief Center, a free-of-charge grief support service – the first of its kind in the region.