Dubai: Al Jalila Children’s, a paediatric hospital in Dubai, last week launched its child and adolescent mental health ward, said to be the first such ward in the GCC.

The ward was inaugurated on January 21 by Hessa Bint Eisa Bu Humaid, Minister of Community Development.

Hessa Bu Humaid was received by Dr Abdullah Al Khayat, CEO of Al Jalila Children’s; Dr Mohammad Al Awadi, the hospital’s COO, and senior management of the hospital.

The minister was given a tour of the 200-bed facility and briefed on the clinics and services available. She said: “The directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was to establish a speciality paediatric hospital that reflects the visions of His Highness in providing the younger generations with exquisite medical and health care services and ensure a sustainable development and promising future for the UAE community.”

She added: “There are so many misconceptions governing the community members about children’s psychiatric diseases. It is our duty as the Emirati community to stand together and correct these concepts through unique initiatives such as today’s initiative in Al Jalila Children’s.”

The Mental Health Inpatient ward at Al Jalila Children’s provides specialised multidisciplinary assessment, support, treatment and management to children and adolescents who experience severe mental health difficulties that can’t be managed through other programmes. The unit caters for those up to the age of 18 years, and consists of 10 beds.

Dr Al Khayat said: “The creation of the first, specially designed and equipped mental health ward for child and adolescent inpatients will serve to fill a gap in the region for such a service, and we strongly believe that many children will benefit from this initiative, especially as it is managed by some of the best multi-disciplinary mental health physicians in the world.”

The ward is part of services offered by the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Centre of Excellence at Al Jalila Children’s. The team at the centre comprises specialised and experienced mental health clinicians, including child and adolescent psychiatrists, registered mental health nurses, and a clinical psychologist, along with specialist input from clinical social work, speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist and physiotherapists.