Omar Mehanna, Co-Founder, emphasises on upholding quality care through dedication towards patient well-being
Mental health, by definition, is a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional wellness. However, with the complexities and pressures of intense lifestyles led by children and adults, the effects on one’s state of mind often takes a toll, consuming their physical being.
A grey area remains when it comes to mental health – inability to identify symptoms, disbelief or denial about conditions and finding reliable healthcare providers. Camali was born out of the need to be that healthcare provider in the region, run by specialists, who recognised the needs of patients.
Co-Founder Omar Mehanna shares how the Camali journey began: “One specific case was a catalyst in identifying how fragmented the whole approach to mental healthcare was. A patient, with a history of mental health within the family, was receiving conflicting advice from multiple sources and different treatments from various centres. This was extremely stressful for the child and the family, and we realised a lot more patients were facing a similar situation. Establishing a multi-disciplinary system with a holistic approach was imperative, which not only embedded clinical care, but also integrated group care with day therapy centres.”
Initiated in late 2014, Camali, located in Dubai Healthcare City, began its journey as a child and adolescent clinic, with the goal to cultivate their core expertise before strategically expanding their services.
“Our founding team consisted of child and adolescent specialists and we felt it was important to develop our offerings based on our expertise. It was crucial to perfect every detail to align ourselves with international standards, as mental healthcare is extremely individualised. Our services were receiving positive feedback, with patients referred by schools and hospitals. As we evolved, in terms of delivering better quality services, we received encouragement through requests from parents, adults and clinicians, who were licensed to consult and treat adults, to expand our services. We strategically decided that we would start delivering adult services, while ensuring that the current set up of Camali doesn’t mix children with adults, which unfortunately tends to be overlooked,” he explains.
Derived from the word Camal, which means ‘complete’, Camali translates to ‘my completeness’. According to Mehanna, ‘Camali’ is also an acronym for child and adult mental health and learning institute.
Mehanna says: “We felt it was important to reflect on what we really stand for, while maintaining our local identity. A local team developed Camali for the local community with an emphasis on providing international quality standards for our patients.”
Camali’s affiliation with the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK corroborates with their commitment to their vision and mission.
“We invite the Royal College annually to conduct an independent audit on Camali, and they produce an extremely comprehensive report,” he adds.
“We ensure that our environment is comforting for our patients and they can share their concerns without any judgements. To fully facilitate access to our services, we have also implemented online tele-therapy and direct billing insurance.”
Camali Clinic provides programmes for children and adults, which help them overcome obstacles without losing track of their lifestyles. “We offer a range of group-based programmes for children, such as the ‘school readiness’ programme, which caters towards patients from the ages of three to seven. Children facing social, behavioural and emotional issues find it challenging to continue with their schooling schedule. Our programme encompasses clinical and aspects of the educational content to re-integrate them back into mainstream school. We measure the success of our programmes by how many children leave us, and how long they stay in school after leaving us. Another programme we offer is called “Bounce Back”. It is for patients from the ages of 12-17, suffering from severe depression, anxiety, and family breakups, who are unable to continue with school. Our tailored programmes accommodate them at Camali to re-integrate them back into their daily lives,” says Mehanna.
At Camali, providing healthcare services for everyone is a predominant value as a multi-disciplinary, psychiatric led, child and adult clinic. “We treat a wide spectrum of cases ranging from mild, moderate and severe, including psychosis, schizophrenia, self-harm and suicide. As specialists and healthcare providers, we have an obligation to address these complex cases. They exist in society, and patients should feel secure to reach out for the help they need. At Camali, our team consists of highly qualified psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, autism and stroke ABA therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, clinical dieticians and registered mental health nurses. We ensure that our environment is comforting for our patients and they can share their concerns without any judgements. To fully facilitate access to our services, we have also implemented online tele-therapy and direct billing insurance.”
In addition, the clinicians are dedicated towards raising awareness on mental health according to the Co-Founder.
“Through initiatives we hold here, which are training seminars for clinicians and educational seminars for parents, Camali is passionate about communicating with individuals and parents. We reach out to schools, clinicians, and hospitals, to organise conferences, and actively participate in investor conferences. Our team communicates with all stakeholders, whether they are from the regulatory bodies, insurance companies, or embassies trying to facilitate access to mental healthcare for patients from regions such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Nigeria, and Europe, to name a few. This aligns us with the government’s initiative to boost medical tourism in the region by providing services for patients who are unable to be treated in their home countries,” he explains.
Camali recently announced a collaboration with the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK, to bring world-renowned senior management leadership and mental health training courses to the UAE and the region. The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust is a specialist mental health trust with a focus on training and education alongside a full range of mental health services and psychological therapists for children and their families, young people and adults.
The trust is committed to improving mental health and emotional well-being, believing that high quality mental health services should be available for all who need them.
“We are privileged to be associated with the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. Tavistock is a highly esteemed educational training institute, and we have collaborated with them, whereby they will provide mental healthcare training and leadership courses. This dovetails with our mission to expand towards providing adult metal healthcare services. We have been catering towards adults over the last 12 months and hired a team of six clinicians in Dubai.
“Camali has a presence in Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with United Eastern Medical services and Danat Al Emarat. Our medical director in Abu Dhabi is an adult psychiatrist. Her team will be complemented by multi-disclipinary child and adult clinicians shortly. In addition, we are opening a satellite clinic to facilitate access to the community at another end of Dubai, to ensure that they are able to access our services for logistical reasons,” he concludes.