UAE: Parents urged to pay close attention to children's mental health

They pointed to the case of a 17-year-old Arab girl who has been under treatment for ADHD


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Published: Thu 10 Feb 2022, 12:49 PM

Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) has stressed the importance of paying close attention to young people's psychological needs, on the occasion of the Children's Mental Health Week, marked from February 7-14.

Mental health specialists at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) pointed to the case of a 17-year-old Arab girl who has been under treatment since age 9 when doctors diagnosed her with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Before seeking professional medical help and advice, the teenager had been criticised and bullied since kindergarten for unable to maintain her attention and focus. She regularly made mistakes, was forgetful, disorganised and often lost things. The girl struggled to follow instructions, which negatively impacted her academic performance, self-confidence and friendships.

After her parents sought treatment at SKMC, doctors were able to recognise signs of ADHD. Once the disorder was addressed and treatment ensued, the girl's quality of life changed dramatically. Her school performance improved and, as a testament to the success of the treatment, she will soon graduate and attend classes at her dream college.

"ADHD is a common mental health condition that can cause inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. This can make studying difficult, and we see many young people with ADHD struggle in school, get lower test scores and fall behind. This can negatively affect their self-esteem, relationships and social skills. With the right support and treatment, compassion and empathy, symptoms can be reduced, and school performance improved," said Dr. Salwa Al Hosani, Consultant Physician at SKMC.

The teenager said, "I always felt misunderstood, judged and alienated. Growing up, I felt incredibly left-out, but that changed after the doctors' diagnosis and the start of treatment. The difference was noticeable, with my ability to focus and self-confidence increasing, which rippled into my education, social life and hobbies.


"My message to parents is if you suspect your child is different, distracted or has trouble making friends, please seek a professional opinion and always ensure they feel loved and accepted, the way my parents did for me. Next fall, I'll begin my first semester at college, all thanks to a doctor's visit almost a decade ago."

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