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Abu Dhabi Public Health launches mental health programme

Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre launches a campaign to raise awareness of mental health from 10th October, 2020, which will continue until November 10, 2020.

The campaign aims to highlight the importance of mental health in light of The World Mental Health Day that is celebrated around the world every year on the 10th of October.

The campaign shall involve broadcasting health messages through social media and involves further strengthening of partnerships with both the health and social sector and to provide workshops with a view to improving community perceptions and reducing stigma related to mental disorders.

The Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre stresses the need to enhance attention to mental health and physical health alike, in line with the directives of the UAE Government and the recommendations of the World Health Organisation, as scientific research has confirmed the mutual relationship between mental and physical health; for instance, individuals with mental disorders are more likely to develop other chronic diseases, and on the other hand people with chronic diseases have an increased chance of developing mental disorders. We have also recently witnessed the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of those who contracted the virus, their families, first line responders, children and society as a whole.

The centre also commends the prominent role of the UAE government in instructing the various bodies in the concerned sectors to provide psychological support to the community in general and to workers in the first line of defence against COVID-19 in particular, based on the vision of the UAE in maintaining happy and productive UAE citizens and residents who are capable to handle with life hurdles and unforeseen circumstances positively.

The centre works to contain the “COVID-19” pandemic. However, however, this global crisis has had an adverse psychosocial impact worldwide, which is expected to last longer than the pandemic itself. Mental health manifestations will continue to linger even in the aftermath, making it all the more crucial that we address Mental health in a timely manner.

The Centre rallied for mental health awareness and educational programmes on various media platforms. The focus of these programmes was psychological wellbeing and coping with the unprecedented events resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. With an aim to help, the community deal with psychosocial challenges it created communication channels that enabled the public to communicate to request support and seek advice, in addition offering various virtual sessions to provide psychosocial support to different groups of society including mothers, students, and the elderly.

The centre also immensely appreciates the prominent government and private entities role in promoting mental health in the community during this period, as the centre cooperated with a number of bodies in launching initiatives to reduce the level of tension and anxiety and facilitate access to services to the community. Among the most prominent was the telemedicine initiative project for senior citizens and residents and individuals with chronic diseases, including mental illness, in cooperation with the Department of Health Abu Dhabi and a group of health service providers in the emirate.

Another was “We are with you to support you” initiative with the Family Development Foundation to provide psychological and social support to the quarantined and isolated, as well as to the families of the deceased due to COVID19. Moreover, the centre worked on developing scientific materials and provided training for the volunteers who staffed the “Mental Support Line” with the Ministry of Community Development, the Emirates Foundation and SEHA. Nevertheless, the center established a working group of experts in the field who are licensed in mental health, primarily represented by SEHA, NRC and a number of nominees from the private health providers to discuss the situation and recommend solutions.

Furthermore, the center inaugurated the launch of the second phase of the initiative “Towards a healthy and safe society”, which included 13 participating entities that have made use of all their capabilities to reach and support senior citizens and residents. The Abu Dhabi Center for Public Health also provided interactive scientific materials for children to enhance awareness and enable them to manage psychological pressures resulting from dealing with Covid19 changes.

The centre also appreciates many initiatives provided by SEHA, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, NRC, the Emirates Red Crescent, the Department of Community Development and MAAN the Authority of Social Contributions to provide psychological and social support to groups affected by COVID19.

The centre also works to support scientific research efforts related to mental health in general and in particular to special consideration groups; such as children and adolescents, to use the outputs of these research in developing new prevention programmes based on sound scientific evidence.

In addition, the Department of Health Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Centre of Public Health are keen to provide an integrated health system in the field of mental health in line with national and international standards, and to develop competencies and specialists for mental health, as well as intensify awareness programs and cooperate with young people to invest their energies in spreading the culture of mental health among members of society.

At the time being the centre is working in cooperation with the concerned authorities to develop a new cohesive mental health strategy to advance the development of mental health services to the world highest standards.

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