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Child and adolescent psychiatry training and services in the Middle East region: a current status assessment

Abstract

Mental health is a key component of health, yet appropriate care is limited. Evidence concerning child and adolescent mental health has predominantly come from western countries, while the Middle East region, with a large youth population, has reported very little on it. This original, cross-sectional study of child and adolescent psychiatry in the Middle East provides an assessment of current postgraduate programs, services and what is needed to build workforce capacity. Academic psychiatrists from 16 Middle East countries were invited to form a Consortium to map current postgraduate training as one of the determinants of available child and adolescent psychiatry services, identify gaps in the distribution of child and adolescent psychiatrists, and propose potential steps to improve access to child and adolescent mental health care. The study collected data from 15 of the 16 countries invited (no data provided from Yemen). The study revealed underdeveloped child and adolescent psychiatry academic systems throughout the region. Despite recognition of the specialty in a majority of the countries (11/15), only six countries had established a designated child and adolescent psychiatry training program. The overall shortage of child and adolescent mental health specialists varied, yet all Consortium members reported a need for additional child and adolescent psychiatry specialists and allied professionals. Lack of child and adolescent psychiatry specialized programs in place throughout the region has evidently contributed to the shortage of qualified child and adolescent mental health workforce in the Middle East.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank all Consortium members who contributed to the collection of data and sharing of information for the successful completion of this study and advancement made towards the evidence-based knowledge surrounding child and adolescent psychiatry. A special thank you and acknowledgment to Dr. John Fayyad for his endless contributions to the field; his dedication and invaluable insight will be missed.

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Correspondence to Carolyn E. Clausen.

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Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

No ethical approval was required for the information-gathering in this study, as it did not involve the collection of personal information or biological material, but the organization of generally publicly-available information that was known to the representative professionals as Consortium members.

Additional information

This article is part of the focused issue: The European and Global Perspective on Training in Child s Adolescent Psychiatry.

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Clausen, C.E., Bazaid, K., Azeem, M. et al. Child and adolescent psychiatry training and services in the Middle East region: a current status assessment. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 29, 51–61 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-019-01360-2

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Keywords

  • Child and adolescent psychiatry (CAP)
  • Postgraduate training
  • Middle East (ME)
  • Child and adolescent mental health