Stigmas and Mental Health

Mental health is still a very misunderstood and emotive topic for many people. The truth is many of us have experience of or know someone who has a mental health issue. So why is it still a subject that is not talked about openly, despite its prevalence in society?

According to The Office for National Statistics in the UK (2005), 1 in 10 children and young people between the ages of 1 to 15 has a mental health disorder. So in a classroom of 30 children, 10 of them will be experiencing mental health difficulties at some point.

The link between mental health stigma and discrimination is a strong one. Dubai is populated by people from all over the world who have many differing opinions relating to mental health. Culture plays an important role in how we see mental illness and can be a barrier in seeking out help and support for young people and their families.

We know that young people who experience mental health issues can feel:

  • Isolated from friends, family and peers. If it is a young person affected then school can feel like a very scary place and they may well avoid attending.
  • Relationships with friends and family can be affected. Often loved ones are not aware of how to best support a young person with mental health issues. Parenting or family support can be invaluable for everyone joining up with the individual work with the young person.
  • Stigma and discrimination can affect education, finding a job and long-term relationships.
  • Sadly many people think that having a mental illness makes a person violent or aggressive, this is often a stereotype that is commonly perpetuated by the media. The truth is that the person affected is more likely to be attacked by another person or harm themselves rather than someone else.
  • Stigma and discrimination can often delay people seeking help and worsen the problem. Early intervention according to the UK Government paper Every Child Matters (2003) is vital. It highlights the need to ensure that they receive the care and support needed as early as possible, keeping young people safe and protected, and the importance of a multi-disciplinary team to support the young person and their carers.

If you broke your arm or had a physical illness such as diabetes you would see a specialist, right? It should be the same for your mental health.

When the team at Camali were trying to think what to call the clinic, transparency was very important to us.  We named ourselves Camali Clinic Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) for a reason – we want everyone who comes here to understand what we’re about! Our aim is to help everyone understand what mental health is, break down the barriers and challenge the misconceptions.  Camali Clinic is a specialist service offering evidence based multi-disciplinary care, and the research is clear that young people respond to friendly and open environments and staff – which is what we hope our team has created.

Why mental health needs to be a priority for GCC parents and caretakers in 2015

Have you tried looking for resources or parenting tips and tricks for children with mental health difficulties? Or have you simply looked for ways to get your child to eat their veggies after they’ve discovered that chocolate is more palatable than a plate of buttered Brussels sprouts? We’ve tried, and we’ve failed. Which is why we at Camali Clinic are launching an open resource to help parents, caretakers and fellow clinicians find the right care for young people who matter to them the most.


Camali Clinic is the first consultant led multi-disciplinary service for Children and young people with mental health difficulties in Dubai. As a team, we are passionate about promoting the emotional mental health of young people in the region, and supporting families and local communities. In the team, we have a range of committed clinicians who have experience in assessment and therapy, educational psychology assessments, speech and language therapy, and occupational therapy. We provide holistic care, and work closely with pediatricians and other professionals from health and education settings to help children and young people receive the care which is collaborative, and supportive.


It has been four months since we opened our doors, and we are thrilled to connect with our patients, and feel privileged that we can join them on their journey and provide them with high quality mental health care. When we assess and provide treatment interventions, these are based on the child’s presentation, their strengths, their weaknesses, and family and social context. We use the NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) guidelines to treat a wide range of disorders, which include anxiety, depression, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism spectrum disorders, eating disorders and behavioural problems. We see children from 0-18 years old, and believe strongly in early intervention, and working alongside children and families. These guidelines are from the UK and define the best recommended treatments which have been proven to be effective for children and young people, and their families.


As Lead Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, I welcome you on behalf of Camali Clinic to read our blog which will feature regular articles from our team members charting our progress, informative posts regarding common and less common mental health issues in children and young people and also events which will be taking place. We welcome ideas for pain points and resources, so if you have any thoughts please get in touch.