The National Mental Health Helpline saw a 32% surge in total calls between 2022 and 2023, according to Hamad Medical Corporation.

In a press release, HMC said that many of the callers (60%) are known to the mental health service and the line provides easy access to appointments, medication, and advice. New callers (40%) are seeking help in managing difficulties sleeping, help with anxiety and depression, and other psychological stresses. Many callers are seeking help and advice in respect of a family member, friend, or colleague.

The National Mental Health Helpline also saw a notable increase in demand for family and career support, with family members seeking advice and assistance in January 2024 alone. Furthermore, psychologists have seen a 44% increase in caseloads in 2023 compared to 2022.

National Health Strategy Lead for Mental Health and CEO of HMC’s Mental Health Service Iain Tulley highlighted the significance of Qatar’s National Health Strategy which has Mental Health and Wellbeing as a key priority. He emphasised the critical role played by the helpline in providing easy, responsive, and confidential help when someone is in need, avoiding the stigma that often surrounds mental health.

‘The continued dedication and expertise of those who operate the helpline has made a huge contribution to the health and wellbeing of people in Qatar. The team is able to respond to increasing complexity in cases and offer support at times of need,’ said Iain Tulley. He also indicated that the helpline is becoming the primary access point for men and women of all nationalities, this is reflected in the growing demand for the service.

The National Mental Health Helpline has a team of trained professionals who can offer a range of support from assessment, brief intervention, sign posting to help or facilitating referral to more specialist help and treatment.

Assistant Executive Director of Clinical Service Development and Head of the Helpline Katja Warwick-Smith highlighted the diverse composition of the team, comprising international, multilingual, and inter-professional staff to cater to the varied needs of callers. Emphasising linguistic diversity, she noted that experts are proficient in Arabic, English, Tagalog, Hindi, Urdu, and Malayalam, aligning with the multicultural fabric of Qatar.

She pointed out that approximately 70% of callers are Arabic speakers and 22% are English speakers; of the remaining 8% of callers the majority are Malayalam or Hindi speakers. The National Mental Health Helpline offers tailored support streams for parents with children, adults, older adults, and healthcare professionals, ensuring confidentiality and providing the option for follow-up interventions as needed.

Accessible via the Qatar Healthcare Unified Contact Center at #16000, callers can select their preferred language (Arabic or English) and choose option 4 for the Mental Health Helpline.

Source: QNA, HMC

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