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AUK Psychology Students Visit the Kuwait Center for Mental Health


The Kuwait Center for Mental Health hosted students from the American University of Kuwait (AUK) who visited their facilities to go on a tour to learn about mental disorders in Kuwait on a fieldtrip organized by Dr. Juliet Dinkha, Associate Professor of Psychology at AUK. The purpose of the trip was to give the students an opportunity to learn about mental disorders in Kuwait, as well as their treatments.

The tour started with a lecture conducted by Dr. Abdullah Al-Hammadi, Psychiatris, inside the lecture hall of the facilities. He introduced the students to the services offered by the center and identified the types of disorders the center generally deals with. According to Dr. Al-Hammadi , the services of the center include in-patient and out-patient care, catering for a number of s subspecialties and divisions, such as for geriatrics, children and adolescence, addiction center, rehabilitation center, and segregated general psychiatry.

Following the lecture, the students visited the different hospital wards. Their first stop was at Al-Manara, the children and adolescence unit. They were shown the layouts of the rooms, which were basic and consisted of two beds and a table in between. The students had the opportunity to see the play therapy room, where children of a young age engaged in constructive activities.

The students' next stop was the adolescent male unit, Almanara, where the nurse explained that the most common cases in the unit were schizophrenia, ADHD, borderline personality disorder and autism. As the students were leaving the unit, two of the patients exhibited interest in interacting with the students and waved goodbye to them as they moved on to the following unit.

The students then made their way to the Acute Unit, which catered adult cases. In the female ward, the nurse explained that bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and adjustment disorder among the domestic workers, are the common cases they treat in the ward. The students were not permitted to visit the male ward, because male in-patients were prone to act inappropriately.

The fieldtrip experience showed the students the non-invasive and more commonly used treatment methods applied by the center. "The students were able to observe what a mental institution looks like nowadays; an open environment, surrounded by trees and caring people that follow principles that ensure the protection of mental health patients," explained Dr. Dinkha.

While on the tour, the group got to speak with few nurses, occupational therapists, and clients. They asked questions to help them better understand what services are available in at the center. The students also learned what steps to take if somebody around them begins to exhibit psychiatric symptoms or appears to require a psychiatric follow-up. Furthermore, the students had a chance to briefly sit in on a demonstration of new technology, conducted by visiting scholars from the U.S, of a virtual device that enables individuals to experience delusions and hallucinations, similar to those experienced by schizophrenic patients.

The tour offered the students the opportunity to meet with professionals and ask them questions. One of the topics they discussed related to how steroid use among bodybuilders can induce schizophrenia-like symptoms. They also mentioned the stigma attached to mental health in Kuwait, and how families with members who have been diagnosed with a mental illness are often ashamed, and use the hospital as a hideaway.

"Seeing the situation in real-life was an eye-opener for the students to see the situation unclouded by stereotype and prejudice. All of the students enjoyed this unique privilege to visit the Kuwait Center for Mental Health," concluded Dr. Dinkha.

Dr Juliet Dinkha with Dr. Abdullah Al-Hammadi

Group photo of AUK Psychology students with Dr. Dinkha

AUK Psychology students attending a lecture at the hospital

The specialized hospital wards

Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 11th February 2015

Photography by the Office of Public Affairs (C) 2015

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