New virtual services launched in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have enabled Hamad Medical Corporations Mental Health Service to meet increased demand, with the service delivering 20% more outpatient consultations since the start of the virus outbreak.
Around 10,000 people a month have benefitted from the new services, which include a mental health helpline and virtual consultations.
"Looking after our psychological wellbeing has never been so important and we have worked hard to change the way we deliver mental health services in order to continue providing vital support to Qatars population during COVID-19," Chairman of the Mental Health Service at HMC Dr. Majid Al Abdulla said.
"Understanding that there would be an increased demand for mental health support as a result of the pandemic, we launched a mental health helpline which provides dedicated help for adults, older people, young people and frontline staff, and has improved access to professional mental health support. The new services have been positively received by users and have helped the Mental Health Service meet an increased demand for services," explained Dr. Al Abdulla.
The introduction of the helpline and virtual consultations have meant that patients receiving ongoing support have been able to continue their care, while new patients have also been able to quickly access the support they need. In addition to enabling more patients to access mental health support, the new services have resulted in increased efficiencies and high patient satisfaction rates.
"The convenience of the virtual consultations has improved attendance rates, with just ten percent of patients not attending their virtual appointments, compared to a 30% non-attendance rate for regular face-to-face consultations," said Dr. May Muraisi, Executive Director of Clinical Development and Head of Psychology in HMC.
The Mental Health Service is continually monitoring the impact of the helpline and virtual consultations to fully understand the way in which they are benefitting users, as Dr. Muraisi explained: "Helpline callers who choose to identify themselves are asked to complete a short online survey and give feedback on their experience of using the helpline. The early survey responses are very positive, with 90 percent of users saying the helpline was easy to access and they were satisfied with the services, while 95% would recommend the helpline to a family member or friend."
"We are in the early stages of the survey but the initial feedback is very encouraging. It is clear that both the helpline and virtual consultations are playing a vital role in enabling people to assess mental health support during the COVID-19, but we are also looking at how we can utilize these services in the long-term to complement our regular face-to-face consultations," said Dr. Al Abdulla.
Source: Qatar News Agency
Image credit: Shutterstock
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