Child and Adolescent Mental Health Centre of Excellence

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Centre of Excellence at Al Jalila Children’s is the first of its kind in the region. Our highly specialised multidisciplinary centre is dedicated to providing comprehensive assessment and management of a wide variety of mental health issues in children and adolescents, in addition to providing support to their families. The Mental Health Centre of Excellence spearheads and supports advanced inter-departmental research, training, and teaching for future mental health professionals from different backgrounds.

Through its highly skilled and experienced professionals, it offers specialised evidence based assessment, diagnoses, management, and treatment of a spectrum of mental disorders for children and adolescents between the ages of 0-18 years. The Centre also aims to set the benchmark for research and education in the region with the objective of pushing the boundaries of mental health treatments and intervention procedures, leading the way to better public awareness and knowledge of how to deal with mental illness in children and teenagers.

The Centre provides a variety of services that include:

The mental health inpatient service is a 10-bedded unit that provides multi-disciplinary, intensive mental health assessment and treatment for children and adolescents who are experiencing emotional and behavioral difficulties and are unable to be managed in at home. This will include children and young people who pose a risk to themselves or others, school refusal, crisis intervention and continual assessment. The facility aims to provide an evidence-based service that is child, young person and family centered.

Difficulties may include but are not limited to:

  • Psychosis
  • Eating Disorders
  • Mood Disorders such as Depression and Bi-Polar Affective Disorder
  • Developmental Disorders including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity
  • Disorder (ADHD), Tic Disorders
  • Anxiety and Emotional Disorders
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorders
  • Self-Harm
  • Suicidality
  • Psychosomatic Disorders
  • Attachment and Emotional Regulation Disorders

Services Provided:

  • Comprehensive bio-psychosocial assessment
  • 24 hour nursing observation and assessment
  • 24 hour patient care
  • Crisis management
  • Appropriate physical investigations
  • Psycho-education
  • Psychopharmacological interventions
  • Psychometric assessments

Psychological therapies including but not limited to:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Psychodynamic Interventions
  • Therapeutic Groups
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Learning support
  • Referral to other services within the hospital or other centers in UAE, as appropriate.
  • Liaison with schools and other relevant external organizations

Child Life Centre

A service that provides patient and family centred support during the hospital visit, from pre admission, during procedures, after surgery, inpatient and follow up outpatient services. The Child Life Centre has a dedicated team of interdisciplinary professionals, certified Child Life Specialists, Play Therapists, Art Therapists, and Recreational Therapists. The Centre facilitates medical play for individuals and groups, to enable patients to become familiar with the hospital environment and provide the opportunity for role reversal to reduce fear and anxiety related to hospitalization and the procedures.

Services Provided:

Mental Health Consultation and Liaison Service

A liaison service that provides consultation and ongoing support to other departments and patients within the hospital. The Mental Health team offer support to patients and their families that are experiencing mental health difficulties, for example anxiety, whilst they are admitted into hospital for medical reasons. Similarly, the team also support to patients with a primary or secondary diagnosis of a mental health condition who are admitted into the hospital for medical reasons.

Services Provided:

  • Inter-department mental health consultation
  • Psychological support to patients and their families
  • One to one mental health nursing support where necessary

Day Programme

The Day Programme provides intensive assessment and therapeutic interventions for children and adolescents aged 7 to 17 years who experience significant emotional, mental and/or behavioural difficulties that cannot be adequately treated by outpatient services alone and as a possible diversion to an inpatient admission. This would be considered the least restrictive care. The goal of this service is to minimize the potential of inpatient admission for such patients. In addition, the programme will also serve as an intervention for inpatients to provide intensive support and ease transition back into the community.

Services Provided:

  • Mental health assessment and intervention
  • Effective, individual care planning and interventions
  • Group Therapy
  • Therapeutic Groups
  • Recreational Groups
  • Parent / Family Support

Outpatient Mental Health Department

The mental health outpatient service offers assessment and management of a wide range of developmental, emotional and behavioural disorders of childhood and adolescence, including but not limited to:

  • Psychosis
  • Mood Disorders such as Depression and/or Bipolar Affective Disorder
  • Self-Harm and Suicidality
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD)
  • Disruptive Behavioral Disorders (Conduct Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder)
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Psychosomatic Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Tic Disorders
  • Stuttering and Selective Mutism
  • Stress responses to abnormal situations at school or home such as bullying or abuse
  • Psychosocial and familial stressors including but not limited to familial separation, reunification,
    divorce and transitions
  • Identity, self and developmental transitions
  • Parent-child attachment and support

Services Provided: 

  • Assessment and diagnosis including Psychiatric, Psychological, Behavioural, Speech and Language
  • Ongoing assessment and review of patients
  • Psychoeducation
  • Psycho-Metric Testing
  • Medication Management
  • Talking Therapies

Intensive Outpatient Programme

The Intensive Outpatient Programme is a specially designed intensive day programme tailored to the needs of adolescents struggling with mental health problems to the extent that their daily functioning has been significantly impacted. The programme runs for six weeks during which the adolescents are expected to attend 4 days per week from 10am to 3pm. Parents are expected to attend two weekly parent sessions held late in the afternoon.

The programme is aimed at adolescents aged 13 to 18 with moderate to severe mental health difficulties and whose functioning is impacted as a result. Designed for adolescents with problems such as depression, anxiety and emotional dysregulation, our pre-group multidisciplinary intake assessment will help ensure that the young person referred is a good fit for the group. Our multidisciplinary team includes psychiatry, psychology, nursing, dietitians, recreational therapy, educational specialist, and other specialities as needed.

Services Provided:

  • Education focused sessions – exploring the teen’s relationship to school and aiming to increase motivation to learn and develop goals for the future
  • Group psychotherapy – examining interpersonal relationships and processes to promote learning and insight into thoughts, feelings and behaviours
  • Recreational Therapy – becoming behaviorally activated as a crucial part of returning to engagement with meaningful activities
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills – teaching interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation, distress tolerance and mindfulness
  • Psychoeducation sessions – increasing their knowledge about mental health and therefore empowering them to become active agents in their recovery

Additionally, two parent sessions per week have been built in:

  • Group psychotherapy for parents of adolescents attending the group
  • Parent Skills sessions – presenting evidence based strategies and information that can aid any parent in tackling the challenges of parenthood and fostering their child’s wellbeing.

What makes us different?

  • As a dedicated Centre within a paediatric hospital, the Mental Health Centre of Excellence caters to the mental health needs of children with chronic physical health conditions while being treated at Al Jalila Children’s.
  • The Centre acts as a leader in setting guidelines for issues facing the community when dealing with children and adolescents with mental health needs.
  • The Centre differentiates itself through its unique child-friendly approach – from the tools and equipment to the overall environment – in addition to its ability to cater to adolescent mental health through the integration and collaboration with the patients’ families, departments of the hospital and various educational and medical agencies within the UAE.
  • The Centre is also a credible and transparent point of reference for families that are looking for a decisive and solid answer for their child’s illness.
  • The team promotes and implements interdisciplinary and inter-professional activities and services that were not previously available in the region.
  • We also provide a first of its kind intensive multi-disciplinary day-programme mental health services.

Al Jalila Children's Specialty Hospital

Al Jaddaf - Dubai United Arab Emirates

800 AJCH (8002524)
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