The Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi (DCD), in collaboration with the Department of Health, Abu Dhabi Public Health Center (ADPHC), and Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), announced that a mental health support service will be provided to individuals suffering from mental pressures through the Istijaba hot-line, which is affiliated with the Medical Operations Command Center in the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi.
This step is part of DCD’s commitment to offer mental health support to many social segments by connecting them directly to licensed specialists. Dr. Bushra Al Mulla, Executive Director of Community Development Sector at DCD, said: “We constantly collaborate with strategic partners in the health and social sectors to implement initiatives and offer services that meet the needs of individuals and the society, to optimally deal with psychological stresses. The project is funded by the Authority of Social Contributions – Ma’an, through the social investment fund collected during the "Together We Are Good" program.”
Dr. Al Mulla stressed that DCD encourages individuals to call the hotline without any hesitation, since their information will be subject to patient privacy and confidentiality rules, noting that the mental health support as part of the Istijaba hotline will be available in many languages, including Arabic, English, Hindi, French, Malayalam, and Tamil, to ensure that many social segments can benefit from this initiative. This will help enhance their mental health by providing appropriate psychological guidance to protect and integrate them into the community with optimism.
This step arises as a response to the current challenges by connecting mental health specialists with individuals who suffer from anxiety, tension, depression, and other types of pressures, through a point of contact that provides high-quality consultations from a specialized team that can handle all age groups in Abu Dhabi. This will raise their mental health awareness, help them overcome challenges, improve psychological resilience and adaptive skills, support their social development, rehabilitate and educate them on facing different types of psychological stress and disorders.
For her part, Her Excellency Dr. Omniyat Al Hajri, Director of Public Health, Department of Health - Abu Dhabi (DOH), commended the efforts and psychological support provided through the Istijaba hotline and said: “We at the Abu Dhabi Public Health Center give a high priority to the community’s mental health during and after the pandemic, as global public health research indicates the possibility of continued psychological consequences for individuals who have been infected with Covid-19 or who have been negatively affected in health or socially.
Dr. Al Hajri added: “During the early stages of Istijaba’s project for psychological support, we proactively allocated this service to individuals within the most psychologically affected groups, in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) and within the framework and regulations of the Department of Health - Abu Dhabi.
“The development of the Istijaba hotline by including counseling and psychological support services, is a clear indication of the leadership's belief that mental health is an integral part of public health, which aligns with the efforts of public health sector and partners to integrate mental health with physical health to reduce the stigma related to mental problems.”
The Istijaba call center, which is associated with DoH’s Medical Operations Command Center, provides its services in Arabic and English through the toll-free number 8001717 or 009718001717 when calling from outside the UAE. The call center responds to inquiries related to all mental health support services.