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MoHAP highlights its mental health services provided during COVID-19

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DUBAI, 9th October, 2020 (WAM) — In conjunction with World Mental Health Day, which falls on 10 October, and as part of the response procedures for COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Health and Prevention, MoHAP, shed light on its mental health services aimed at developing effective smart systems, that offer therapeutic, preventive and mental health rehabilitation services in innovative ways, strengthening multi-sectoral cooperation to implement the national mental health policy, developing competent human resources, improving information systems, collecting and using statistical data, and conducting scientific research in the mental health.
According to World Health Organisation, WHO, this year’s theme is "Mental Health for All – Greater Investment – Greater Access; Everyone, Everywhere", with the aim of encouraging public action around the world to develop or strengthen mental health services and exert further efforts to create mental health systems that are consistent with the present and the future.
With the implementation of COVID-19 precautionary procedures, MoHAP has been keen to develop effective smart systems that offer high-quality mental health services in accordance with safety and privacy policy. These services include the launch of virtual psychiatric clinics for patients in the outpatient clinic, the development of virtual pharmacy services, the provision of remote guidance for psychiatric drugs, and medicine home delivery services.
The ministry has also developed virtual clinics for psychosocial rehabilitation programs for addicted patients and other psychological departments.
During COVID-19 outbreak, MoHAP continued to provide community mental health services, such as the designation of home care and support teams for chronic cases in order to prevent relapse, the activation of the virtual visits program for inpatients to enable them to meet their families.
With over 2,112 psychological counseling since April this year, the psychological counseling helpline service "talk, we do hear you" has provided counseling and psychological support to the public and those infected with or suspected of Covid-19, as well as the frontline health workers, in accordance with approved safety and quality policy.
When it comes to psychiatric emergency services, the ministry has formed multidisciplinary teams including psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers to provide 24/7 service to all the infected cases or those suspected or quarantined in all MoHAP’s facilities, in accordance with the best international standards and practices.
Dr. Youssif Al Serkal, Director-General of the Emirates Health Services Corporation, said: "World Mental Health Day is a perfect opportunity for highlighting the tremendous efforts of MoHAP to offer uninterrupted mental health services during Covid-19. The ministry was keen to develop the telepsychiatry and telemental health services through the psychological counseling helpline service and the launch of relevant virtual clinics."
This comes as part of MoHAP’s commitment to achieving social, psychological, and professional empowerment for patients, promoting preventive mental health programs and early detection of mental illnesses, and developing societal psychological services for children, adolescents, and senior citizens, in accordance with the standards of the national mental health policy.
Dr. Mona Al Kuwari, Director of the Specialised Care Department, said: "Since COVID-19 emergence, the ministry has developed telepsychiatry services in its hospitals and Al Amal Psychiatric Hospital to enable the patient to obtain psychiatric services through the smart systems without the need to visit the health facility."
Al Kuwari added: "Furthermore, MoHAP has included its telepsychiatry services in the virtual clinic smart app and linked it to "Wareed" health information system, so that patients can book a remote appointment with the attending team. The number of psychological counseling via telepsychiatry service has reached about 5672 consultations and treatment sessions from April to October."