Browsing 'youth' News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Andy Bernay-Roman/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In an effort to tackle rising incidences of mental illness among Qatar’s young residents, local health officials said they have begun training teachers to identify possible behavioral issues among students.

Currently, when pupils act out, many schools primarily apply punitive measures – such as detention – to meet the standards set in the Supreme Education Council’s behavioral code, said Dr. Suhaila Ghuloum, a senior psychiatry consultant at Hamad Medical Corp.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar University/Facebook

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

While that approach is not unique to Qatar, teachers here are nevertheless missing an opportunity to understand why a student is refusing to follow directions or misbehaving in other ways, Ghuloum added.

Speaking to Doha News on the sidelines of the second World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) in Qatar, she said there is a lack of “psychological mindedness” in schools in this country and abroad.

“There isn’t a recognition of how to address a child who misbehaves in the classroom. It is immediately how to punish a child who is misbehaving,” Ghuloum said.

“Detention might be a very viable step. It is needed sometimes. But there are other issues you should look at. Why did that student behave in that way? If you don’t look into it deeper, you are going to miss most of the cases – if not all – of, for example, depression.”

Training teachers

Ghuloum is leading a clinical team that, as part of a wider initiative, is training secondary school teachers and counselors to recognize and treat behavioral issues in Qatar.

Last year, officials started the program in Qatar’s government-run independent schools. The plan is to roll it out to private schools later this year.

Speaking to Doha News, Ghuloum emphasized that not every child who is behaving differently from his or her peers has a mental illness, and that researchers did not want teachers referring a flood of students to health professionals or making them feel as though they had a disorder.

“Not every child who is lonely has depression … a child who is lonely may have self-esteem issues. A child who is naughty may need attention because he is deprived of attention,” she said.

She added that addressing and treating behavioral problems in adolescents and teenagers could help stop more serious mental health issues from developing.

“This is prevention,” she said.

Mental health in Qatar

There’s no concrete data on the prevalence of mental illness among children in Qatar.

However, other research has previously estimated that one-quarter of teenagers in Qatar suffer from depression.

Dr. Veena Luthra, a consultant psychiatrist at the American Centre for Psychiatry and Neurology in Abu Dhabi, said in 2013 that one reason for the high rates of youth mental illness in the Gulf may be the “nanny problem” and newfound wealth in the region:

“A lot of kids here are raised by nannies and the nanny is the primary caregiver,” she was quoted as saying. “I don’t know how much emotional support they’re getting … it’s probably more like putting the child in front of the TV and giving them video games.”

Meanwhile, health officials here have previously estimated that one-fifth of the country’s population is affected by mental illness at any given point in time.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Robert Macaskill/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

That figure was cited in Qatar’s National Mental Health Strategy, a five-year plan released in late 2013.

Its goals include raising awareness to reduce the stigma around mental illness, making measurable improvements in patient care and fulfilling previously announced promises to improve doctor training and integrate mental health care into primary health centers.

Ghuloum said that while the goals of her program align with Qatar’s mental health strategy, it is a standalone initiative.

Along with rolling out the training program to more schools in Qatar, Ghuloum said her team plans to conduct follow-up assessments to see how much of the training is retained by local educators, and to see if the program results in improved mental health among local students.


Run The World 2013

Marium Saeed

Run The World 2013

Final preparations are underway ahead of the opening of the fourth edition of the regional youth sports festival Run the World, which will be held from Dec. 18-20 at Katara Cultural Village.

Touted as a youth-run sports festival aimed at introducing young people in Qatar to a healthier lifestyle, the initiative also hopes to engage young adults in cultural exchange and extreme sports including basketball, volleyball, football, cricket, skateboarding, parkour – which involves running, jumping and climbing over urban obstacles – as well as BMX riding.

And after attracting a record 120,000 visitors last year, the organizers are hopeful that the coming three-day long event will be even more popular.

What’s on

Coinciding with Qatar National Day, this year’s event will provide opportunities to understand more about and to experience different aspects of Qatari culture through stage and street performances.

There are several new activities for this year, geared to foster Qatar’s emerging local small market economy, including the RTW Souq area, a marketplace for vendors, social entrepreneurs, and other budding small and medium enterprises to sell their products.

And, for the first time, the festival will also include a Global Village, with a section where different embassies can gather to showcase their varied cultures.

Run the World 2013

Marium Saeed

Run the World 2013

While the primary focus of entertainment on the first two days is Qatar, numerous local sports icons like Redbull Parkour athletes, BMX riders, beach volleyball players, and a local fire-throwing teen will also grace the event and offer workshops on their craft.

Elsewhere, there will be a graffiti section showcasing the work of regional graffiti artists, while Egyptian, Lebanese, Indian, Palestinian, Filipino, and Kenyan cultural performances will take place at various locations.

And among the crowd favorite event which will be returning for another year is the Youth Got Talent Competition, which pits musicians, singers, dancers, and other performing youth against each other for the title.

While auditions have already been completed, selected youth will perform for the public during the festival, vying for a professional mentorship with Dana Al Fardan, whose company, DNA Records, is co-sponsoring the segment, and who will be joining the youth on stage at the final.


The event’s project manager Abdulrahman Sajid said the event had grown significantly in popularity over the years. When it started in 2011, it had 27,000 visitors. By last year, the crowd had grown nearly 10-fold, to 120,000.

“The festival has built a lot of ground-support for growing youth communities in Qatar, especially graffiti artists, extreme sports and parkour. Since 2011, we have seen a lot of organizations taking action to promote sports and healthy lifestyle among young people, and the majority of them are supported by The Youth Company,” he added.

Preparations to plan the event began earlier this year, in July, and were spearheaded by a team of some 40 university and high-school students aged 14-26 from Doha and Europe.

While entrance to the event is free, this year, residents can buy VIP tickets for QR100, which will provide them with access to VIP lounges, free food, valet parking, and other benefits available during the festival.

Organizers are still look for vendors and street performers. For more information, visit the festival’s website here.

You can see a preview of the event here.

Will you be heading there? Thoughts?

All images courtesy of Ashghal

A QR86 (US$23.6) million facility hailed as one of the largest scout camps in the world has just opened outside of Doha.

Camping and outdoor exploring are intrinsic parts of the scouting experience and through its new camp site, Qatar’s scouting organization aims to expand the range of activities it offers.

The camp site, in Al Mazrouaa, which is around 30km north of Qatar’s capital near Al Shamal Road, is around 400,000sqm in size and includes a hostel, entertainment block, space for 251 tents, two football pitches and an amphitheater, as well as administration and seminar facilities.

At the 2013 Qatar Olympic Committee Sports Day Village

Omar Chatriwala / Doha News

At the 2013 Qatar Olympic Committee Sports Day Village

Its opening comes at a time when Qatar has been working to increase the physical fitness of its young people, who are vulnerable to diabetes and obesity due to a range of lifestyle factors.

Managed by public works authority Ashghal for the Qatar Scouts & Guides Association (QSGA), the new development took two years to build and aims to attract international and regional scouting events to the multi-purpose site.

Communities in Qatar have been active in scouting since the mid-1960s, when the QSGA – the national scouting and guiding organization of Qatar – was founded.

There are also a number of international scouting and guiding groups with units in Qatar, including Boy and Girl Scouts of America and British Scouting Overseas.

The latter group is part of the World Scouting movement, a confederation of 162 national Scout organizations with 40 million members throughout the world.

First started by Robert Baden-Powell in the UK in 1908, the quickly movement gained popularity and spread internationally, promoting its combination of education, adventure and fun for young people.

Facilities at the Al Mazrouaa complex include:

  • A seminar building with IT-connected rooms and a multi-purpose hall;
  • A 1,760 m2 hostel building with bedrooms;
  • An entertainment building with a cafeteria and recreational facilities;
  • A separate dining building with kitchens and a dining hall;
  • An amphitheater with a covered VIP seating area;
  • A camping areas for 251 tents;
  • Two football fields;
  • Some 71 shaded car parking spaces and 20 bus parking bays; and
  • Five service block buildings, each serving 50 tents, with washing and toilet facilities and kitchens.

Scout HQ

Ashghal has also announced the completion of a QR31 million new headquarters for the Scout & Guide Association in Ain Khaled.

The three-story building includes admin offices, multi-functional areas and a hostel for visitors, as well as playgrounds in the surrounding area.