How a child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) came into being

Happy New Year!

It has been my very good fortune that on coming to the UAE four years ago, Dubai Health Authority gave me the opportunity to develop child and adolescent mental health services at the main government hospital in Dubai – Rashid Hospital. I was offered a room in the Adult Psychiatry department and with that came a long line of patients!

Working at a fast pace and often under considerable pressure, it has been immensely rewarding meeting and working with children, young people and families. I feel privileged indeed. Families have bravely allowed me into their lives at times when things were unraveling for them, but together we started a journey of doing things differently and making a positive change to theirs and their children’s lives.

However, government services for child and adolescent mental health are struggling to keep up with demand. At Rashid Hospital a new patient can wait up to 6 months for an appointment to see a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist.

In the private sector, there are some excellent individual practitioners and mental health psychologists in Dubai doing wonderful work, but it is hard for families to find or access them, let alone know how to assess the quality of their work. As individuals, they can also lack the resources to offer the holistic approach – the team ‘around the child’ – that we know works so well, especially for children with more complex needs.

Camali Clinic is the first truly integrated multi-disciplinary consultant-led child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) in the private sector in the UAE, and by that, we mean that your children have access to all our practitioners, ranging from psychologists, to CBT therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and psychiatrists if need be.

Our Lead Psychiatrist, Dr Amber, boasts an impressive CV and is passionate about her work. She is lucky enough to be working with whom she refers to as a ‘Dream Team’ of qualified, experienced therapists who share her passion.

Camali Clinic aims to be the place to go for sensible, evidence-based assessments and advice that young people and families can trust. Having personally been involved in recruiting each and every member of the team I am confident they can do this.

We are keen to collaborate and work with other services and we embrace and nurture good practice wherever, and however we can.

Young people’s mental health needs are at the heart of Camali Clinic and it is my job is to ensure that it stays this way!

Do let us know if we fall short in any way. We will do whatever we can to do things better next time.


Dr Nadia Dabbagh

Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist 

MRCPsych (UK)

Consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, MB BS, MRPsych (UK)


Senior Medical Advisor and co-Founder at Camali Clinic