Pregnant women and new mothers with anxiety, depression or other problems now have a new resource to turn to in Qatar.
This week, the Sidra Medical and Research Center opened the nation’s first Women’s Perinatal Mental Healthcare Clinic.
There, professionals will offer guidance and counseling for mothers with attachment and bonding issues, as well as those dealing with previous trauma and loss, Sidra announced.
Women with more serious problems, such as OCD, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, can also receive support at the clinic.
Currently, the center will only see patients who are referred by Sidra’s Obstetrics Clinic, Hamad Medical Corp. hospitals and Primary Health Care Corp. centers.
However, plans are afoot to expand the services offered.
In a statement, Dr. Felice Watt, division chief for Women’s Mental Health, said taking care of emotional health is just as important for new mothers as looking after their physical health.
“Mental health issues are common during this period and the right support and treatment can have a lasting positive impact on the mother, infant, and the entire family.
Our women’s mental healthcare team will provide culturally sensitive, woman and family centered support and treatment during this important time.”
Demand for better mental healthcare services in Qatar has been on the rise for some time.
The call grew louder earlier this month following the suicide of an American expat, with many community members saying they wouldn’t know where to turn for help with their issues.
Pregnant women and new mothers have also been seeking better support services.
In a series on giving birth in Qatar last year, many moms said they struggled with depression and questions about how to take care of their babies, and their husbands “had no idea how to support them.”
Women who suffer miscarriages in Qatar also say they have trouble coping without help.
After several hurdles, Sidra partially opened last May with the launch of some pediatric outpatient clinics. And it started doing day surgeries in November.
This year, all 40 of its outpatient services are expected to become fully operational.
But so far, there is no opening date for the entire hospital, which has been delayed for years.