Telehealth Art Therapy in Qatar
Project Description

The research from this pilot program will develop and pilot "Telehealth Art Therapy" in partnership with the National Museum of Qatar. The program is designed to reduce mental health challenges in patients diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or stress disorders impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the State of Qatar. The research addresses causal factors of depression, anxiety, and stress, such as isolation and exclusion, in individuals and will, therefore, be applicable beyond the current situation of government-mandated social isolation and quarantine. Further to this, stigmatization of mental illness in the Gulf region, the lack of public awareness of mental health issues, and the lack of community resources could be addressed if the pilot indicates good outcomes. The research will additionally explore the feasibility of researching telehealth interventions with this population. Initially, this pilot project will be delivered in English; however, all self-reported outcome measures will be available in Arabic and English. If outcomes signal an effective model, the research will be scaled up to a full feasibility trial and the intervention will be delivered by dual-language clinicians in follow-up research.

This is the first experimental, online art therapy pilot program in the Middle East. A similar online "Arts in Health" project involving children with Down's Syndrome in collaboration with Qatar's national art college began in September, 2020. The program consists of a community-based arts in health (wellness) online program for persons facing cognitive, developmental, and social disability as well as social exclusion during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program includes companion research studies to measure outcomes, feasibility, and acceptability. The pilot phase will be targeted towards children with Down’s Syndrome. Program developers include 5 clinical art therapists (Qatar, UK, and UAE) and an arts in health researcher (Qatar). Currently this group has been delivering group art making sessions via Zoom to children with Down's Syndrome in Qatar.

Translational Perspective

This program aims to  translate art therapy and telehealth best practices that are sensitive to the local culture to mental health services provision in the Middle East.

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Weill Cornell Medicine in Qatar
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alw2010 [at]

Education City, Qatar