Within the context of its participation at Arab Health 2019 – Dubai 28 - 31 January, and within the framework of supporting and empowering mental health patients through specialized curative and awareness programmes, in addition to training young doctors on virtual reality experience in medicine, the Ministry of Health and Prevention “MOHAP” announced the launch of a number of digital solutions technologies in the mental and psychological field, which will lead to a quantum leap in the clinical practices field.
These digital solutions include the treatment by using virtual reality technology to help understand schizophrenia and to learn more about the suffering of patients with this disease, through the use of Gear by Oculus technology, besides other technologies of virtual reality for the treatment of psychotic patients, victims of bullying, youth with obsessive-compulsive disorder, in addition to an innovative programme of cognitive behavioural therapy to boost the capability of adaptation which will be evaluated in the primary schools.
The National Policy for Strengthening Mental Health
H.E. Dr. Youssif Al Serkal, Assistant Undersecretary for the Ministry’s Hospitals Sector, underlined that the launch of these innovative digital solutions in the mental health field demonstrates MOHAP’s excellence and leadership in exploring the healthcare future within the framework of carrying out the national policy for strengthening mental health in order to ensure the rights of those suffering from mental health diseases and to enhance prevention and early detection programmes of mental disorders.
Also, this national policy will help prepare a comprehensive national statistical database for mental health and build local and international partnerships for the support of rehabilitation of mental health patients and engage them in the society, in addition to its continuous support to develop the mental health-related scientific researches, studies and publications. That comes in line with MOHAP’s strategy to provide comprehensive and integrated healthcare in innovative and sustainable methods and achieve the National Agenda 2021 in building effective heath system with worldwide standards.
Dr. Al-Serkal noted that the adoption of virtual reality technology in providing the latest mental health services for patients comes as part of the ministry’s keenness to totally incorporate artificial intelligence into the medical services in order to explore the healthcare future and innovate proactive paths and solutions for promoting patients’ happiness and well-being to implement UAE Artificial Intelligence Strategy – one of the essential projects of UAE Centennial 2071 for the promotion of government performance and speed up the accomplishment in addition to creating innovation and creative workplace environments.
Reinforce the Leadership of Al-Aml Hospital across the Region
Dr. Mona Al-Kuwari, Director of the Specialized Care Management, MOHAP, said that the utilization of virtual reality technologies simulation in mental health services reinforces the ministry’s efforts to keep pace with the new treatments in mental health field in innovative and sustainable ways and develop mental health programmes through the implementation of the national mental health programme in order to achieve patient’s social and mental empowerment and provide outstanding augmentation, curative and rehabilitative quality services.
She also shed the light on the leadership of Al-Aml Psychiatric Hospital across the region in terms of examining and adopting those technologies, qualitative and innovative solutions in collaboration with Maudsley Health Centre, Abu Dhabi of Maudsley Health, UK with an aim to make Al-Aml Psychiatric Hospital one of the most important centers of excellence in mental health field.
The capabilities of virtual reality allow the psychiatrists to conduct a real-time measurement and evaluation for the cognitive, emotional, physiological and behavioural responses of mental health patients. It also provides a deep understanding for various situations, in addition to improving the evaluation process and treatment of the physical and mental health issues in general.
At the international level, estimates show that one out of 4 persons suffer from one mental disorders which also have an impact on around 450 million persons around the world.
Virtual Reality-based Smart Educational Youth Lab
The Ministry of Health and Prevention strives to motivate young doctors to resume their studies and penetrate various disciplines to move forward in their professional career, the matter that will affect the accomplishment of the National Agenda Indicators 2021. In this regard, Ministry of Health and Prevention’s Youth Council launched an innovative project for developing the virtual reality (VR) experience with an aim to simulate the daily routine of a specialist doctor in his workplace to experience, in a real way, the hospital environment particularly the emergency room. The project was to create a tangible simulator that provides both audio and visual experience. The users will be able to select one scenario out of three scenarios. Each will represent a specific specialty including: cardiologist, endocrinologist and emergency science.