Mental Health Support Line for Frontline Professionals Launched – in partnership with National Program for Happiness and Wellbeing under the Ministry of Community Development, Frontline Heroes Office, and Emirates Foundation
- Sultan Bin Tahnoon: Thanks to the dedication of Frontline Professionals, the UAE ranks one of leading countries in dealing with “Coronavirus” pandemic
- Hessa Buhumaid: It is our duty to support Frontline Professionals’ Health in appreciation of their dedication to protect us
The Frontline Heroes Office has drafted an agreement with the National Program for Happiness and Wellbeing, under the umbrella of the Ministry of Community Development, and support of Emirates Foundation to launch a special helpline to provide mental support for frontline professionals, a complementary effort to its “Mental Health Support Line” initiative. This voluntary initiative is aimed at enabling community members to cope with the repercussions of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
This initiative falls under the framework of the efforts and the importance His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, in his role as chairman of the Frontline Heroes Office, to support frontline professionals in facing the Coronavirus pandemic on a national level.
The dedicated helpline, which falls under the existing “Mental Health Support Line” initiative, will be the first of its kind regionally and directly supported by the Abu Dhabi Public Health Center, SEHA (Abu Dhabi Health Services Co.) and the National Program for Happiness and Wellbeing.
The support line, which is available from 8am – 8pm, aims to offer long-term mental wellbeing support to frontline professionals through a team of more than 55 specially – trained volunteers.
On the occasion of launching the “hotline”, His Excellency Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of the Frontline Heroes Office, said: “Across the globe, frontline professionals have faced the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite feeling the burden of the pandemic more than most, they have continued to get up every single day and help keep this great nation going. Their selfless work has meant that the UAE has been one of the leading countries in tackling the pandemic with sincerity and passion, which is why we must take care of them in appreciation of their dedication and generosity.”
He added: “At the Frontline Heroes Office, we see that supporting the mental welfare of frontline professionals is more important now, than ever. The current pandemic has highlighted the unique challenges faced by our invaluable frontline professionals, and our hope is that through this helpline, we can help to provide ongoing impactful mental health support to these brave individuals who are dedicating their lives to protecting us all.”
For her part, Her Excellency Hessa Bint Essa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, stated that the national and social duty requires us to come together and ensure that we are supporting the health of frontline professionals in the same way that they have selflessly protected us, noting that it is important to focus on the frontline heroes and maintain their mental health during these crucial times and beyond.
Her Excellency elaborated that the collaboration between the Ministry of Community Development and Emirates Foundation embodies the best form of community cooperation with the Frontline Heroes Office through this “Mental Health Support Line”. Both organizations are keen to achieve effective partnership with various government authorities and volunteering agencies, to reflect the necessary community support and ensure the confidential provision of all services and capabilities that meet the mental wellbeing requirements of all frontline heroes in their various disciplines.
The “Mental Health Support Line” initiative will feature a dedicated line for the frontline professionals that can be selected when calling the main 800HOPE hotline.
This initiative, which has been implemented by the Ministry of Community Development and Emirates Foundation, has received more than 1,200 calls from Emiratis and residents in the UAE for cases in need of support. These were directly dealt with by specialists and volunteers, since the launch of the national campaign “UAE Volunteers” in May 2020. The initiative comes as part of providing mental health support and community consultations to individuals in cooperation with elite experts, consultants and specialists in the field of psychology and volunteers through phone calls and e-communication to ensure an effective experience that maintains a caller’s privacy while receiving advice during this global challenge.
The mental support line will be run by a team of English and Arabic-speaking volunteers, all of whom have a personal or professional connection with the mental wellbeing profession many are students in the mental health field or specialize in mental health professions such as life coaching. The volunteers are supported by a team of 12 second responders made up of clinical psychologists, trained separately to provide support for the frontline heroes through the helpline.
The launch of the helpline is in direct response to research that was conducted by the Frontline Heroes Office, which revealed that almost half (46 percent) of frontline professionals feel that COVID-19 has negatively impacted their mental health, a quarter of surveyed frontline professionals reported burnout, while 81 percent expressed that they are concerned about contracting Covid-19 due to their profession. This is in keeping with global trends which highlight the need for specialized mental health support for frontline professionals, with healthcare workers across the globe reporting high anxiety, stress and a lack of mental health resources.
The Frontline Heroes Office aims to appreciate the efforts of frontline professionals during times of emergency and crisis, and is mandated to listen and respond to the challenges and priorities of the UAE’s frontline professionals, and implement short-term and long-term solutions to directly address those challenges, as well as ensure those who sacrifice and put themselves at risk to protect the people of the UAE are nationally recognised and celebrated. Through this partnership, the Office aims to help provide basic mental support for frontline professionals throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
The Frontline Heroes Office, established in July 2020 by Presidential Decree under the Chairmanship of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is dedicated to recognizing and caring for those working on the frontline.
The Frontline Heroes Office supports a comprehensive range of frontline professionals, including medical and non-medical staff working in the health sector, such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, cleaning and services personnel, as well as protection and prevention workers, security and emergency workers, and sanitization workers.
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