Abu Dhabi: A leading psychiatric facility based in the United Kingdom will soon begin offering mental health treatment to children and adolescents in the capital.

The facility, Maudsley Hospital, is expected to open its Abu Dhabi clinic by summer 2015, it was announced at the British Embassy yesterday (June 2).

“I am very pleased to welcome The Maudsley to Abu Dhabi. It will bring in [some of the] best in specialist child and adolescent mental health services to the UAE,” said Philip Parham, British Ambassador to the UAE.

According to the World Health Organisation, up to 20 per cent of children and adolescents experience mental disorders. Half of these illnesses begin showing symptoms by the age of 14, and three-quarters by the time people are in their mid-20s.

Abu Dhabi emirate’s health sector regulator, the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (Haad), anticipates that the number of people requiring mental health services is under-reported at present. In addition, there is an existing capacity gap in the provision of psychiatric services, although neuropsychiatric care has been identified as one of the areas for which there will be significant growth in demand over the next few years.

The Maudsley Hospital in South London is the largest mental health training institution in the United Kingdom, housing Europe’s largest centre for research in psychiatry, psychology and basic and clinical neuroscience.

A spokesperson told Gulf News that this will be the first time that the hospital is opening a permanent facility outside the United Kingdom. A team of clinicians and support staff based in Abu Dhabi will offer services to residents, and their care will be supplemented by visiting experts and researchers.

Some of the most common concerns among young patients tend to be eating disorders, mood disorders, autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and the team expects to offer advanced treatment for residents suffering from these conditions.

While anecdotal evidence suggests that potential patients in Abu Dhabi currently do not seek care because of the social stigma associated with mental illness, many residents also cite the lack of insurance coverage for mental health treatment as being a constraint.