Mental Health Care Service in Kuwait has historically been developed as follows:
- The first premises in which formal psychological services were delivered for psychiatric patients in Kuwait were constructed in 1940. In spite of shortage of specialized staff and inadequate medical and psychiatric provisions, the premises were considered fairly adequate for the range of available services.
- The first extension to the buildings — designated for psychiatric patients - was built in 1949, and was annexed to the Department of Health Administration, which was by than in — charge of health matters.
- By the end of 1949, the first specialized Psychiatry and Neurology Centre was established, where the psychiatric service was manned by a professional staff who followed the scientific approach
- The service was up-graded, and the current systems of psychiatric and neurological diagnoses became officially recognized. Medical and nursing staff, as well as appropriate medical equipment was adequately provided, and proper work regulations were instituted. The service also included a special section for females suffering from mental disorders.
As a result of the government interest on this important aspect of health, the mental health services center was designated as the "Mental & Psychological Illness Hospital". In 1959 it was renamed as it is currently known: "Psychological Medicine Hospital". The hospital became equipped, organized and managed in accordance with modern systems to regulate patient's admission, and other activities.
- Services delivered by the Psychological Medicine Hospital were expanded to include the formal teaching of male and female paramedical students of the diploma schools available at the time. The first psychiatric clinic was opened at the school health department in 1965, followed by establishing psychiatric clinics in the general hospitals of the health regions. These clinics were established as subsidiaries of the Psychological Medicine Hospital, and that is the way they have been run till date.
- New programs were added to the package of services offered by the Hospital in accordance with the natural development undergone by the Kuwait community as well as new treatment approaches. Of particular note was the AI Raggai Center in 1992, which was specialized in treating the epidemic of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that was consequent on the brutality of the Iraqi invasion.
- The number of resident doctors, specialized psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists, nurses and pharmacists was increased to meet the demands of a modern nation's mental health care needs.
- Today, the hospital is fully established, with the component departments of psychiatry, nursing, psychology, social work and pharmacy. In addition, it is the service and teaching arm of the Department of Psychiatry, Kuwait University. It also provides practical clinical experience for students in psychology, nursing, as well as the doctors doing psychiatric rotations in the national general practice postgraduate training program
- The clinical psychiatric service is sectorized, so that patients are treated by doctors assigned to their catchment areas of domicile, within the hospital. These catchment areas define the clinical Units within the Department of Psychiatry.
- The Department of Psychiatry provides specialized services, such as addiction, forensic psychiatry, rehabilitation and child and adolescent psychiatry. The Department of Psychiatry runs the psychiatric clinics in all the specialist general hospitals, on a weekly basis. Along with the Department of Psychology, psychotherapy / Counseling services are also provided.
- Today our main goal is to improve current national mental health services in Kuwait.
Dr. Ibrahim Marouf
Dr. Haya El-Mutairi