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  • SEHA successfully concludes 14th World Congress of World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation (WAPR) and 7th Abu Dhabi International Mental Health Conference

    Published on December 17, 2021

    The best attended WAPR Congress and the first held in the Middle East, delegates from 42 countries took part, with 5,000 participating online and 780 in person

    Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), the UAE’s largest healthcare network, has successfully concluded the 14th World Congress of World Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation (WAPR) and 7th Abu Dhabi International Mental Health Conference. The event was a first on many fronts – it was the first WAPR conference to be held in the Middle East, the first hybrid event in WAPR’s history and its best attended conference.

    Held from 9th – 11th December 2021 under the theme of ‘Mental Health, Rights, Equity, Recovery and Social Inclusion in Testing Times’ the conference showcased 200 speakers, 21 poster presentations and was attended by 5,000 people online and 780 in person, with delegates traveling from 42 countries. It took place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre in the UAE’s capital.

    The conference achieved its objective of igniting a pivotal discussion regarding COVID-19’s lasting toll on mental health services and mental health patients. It also showcased Abu Dhabi’s continual efforts towards the rehabilitation of people living with mental illnesses.

    Dr. Nahida Nayaz Ahmed, Consultant Psychiatrist and Chair of Behavioral Health Council at SEHA, said: “The conference was a considerable success and would not have been possible without the relentless support of the UAE government and Abu Dhabi Tourism. We would also like to thank Dr. Medhat Elsabbahy Abdou Elsabbahy, Consultant Psychiatrist, WAPR board member and ex-WAPR Vice President, without whom the event would not have been a resounding success. I am exceptionally happy that this event not only served to challenge, inspire, and encourage participants and facilitate crucial discussions surrounding mental health but also showed SEHA’s consistent support towards patients with mental illnesses.” 

    The poster sessions covered a wide range of mental health topics. First place went to the team from Franco Basaglia Day Centre in Greece for a poster on ‘Psychological and Vocational Rehabilitation in the Members of EPAPSY’. Second place was awarded to UAE’s Ameera Salem Bawazeer, Mouza Al marzouqi and Farah El Zein. Third Place was a tie between the team from India comprising of Harkishan Mamtani, Kartik Singhai, Sujai Ramachandraiah and colleagues presenting on ‘Barriers of Vocational Rehabilitation in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Case Series’ and the team from Egypt – Dr Sahar Daoud, Dr. Noha Aly and Dr Manal Elewah from the Psychosocial Rehabilitation of Oncology Nurses at BAUH, for a poster on ‘Taking Care of Those Who Care.’

    Key sessions at the WAPR conference included Artificial Intelligence in Mental Health Care, Suicide and Self-harm Prevention, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Strategies and Support for Wellness of Mental Health Workers.

    The conference had a gamut of rich presentations with representation from three Presidents, present and past, of the World Psychiatric Association. Former Presidents of WAPR and several board members participated in the congress by attending as well as presenting. Professor Michelle Funk represented the World Health Organization at the opening ceremony. In attendance were Professor Murali Thyloth, President of the WAPR Congress and the President of WAPR; Dr. Medhat Elsabbahy, Chair of the Organizing Committee and the Conference; Dr Ghanem Al Hassany, Chair of the Local Scientific Committee; and Dr Nahida Ahmed, member of both Scientific and Organizing committees.

    Dr. Ghanem Ali Al Hassani, Chair of Local Scientific Committee and SEHA’s Group Education and Research Director, said: “What was fantastic to witness was the rich exposure that the conference provided. The kind of efforts that countries across the world are putting in to support and empower patients with mental illnesses are quite phenomenal. Everything from recent advances in psychosocial rehabilitation to human rights and citizenship for such patients was covered during the event. I am grateful that we at SEHA got a chance to host such an impactful event in addition to providing networking opportunities for professionals. I strongly believe that the kind of discussions that were sparked during the event will enhance the safety and quality of treatment and support provided to patients with mental illnesses.”

    The conference was accredited by the European Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (EACCME®) for 24 European CME Credits (ECMEC®s). All attending participants received e-certificates following the end of the conference.

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