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Posted On: 9 October 2021 03:09 pm
Updated On: 9 October 2021 03:11 pm

MOPH Qatar launches new mental health, wellbeing awareness campaign 'Are You OK?'

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The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) in collaboration with Hamad Medical Corporation, Primary Health Care Corporation, Sidra Medicine, Naufar and Qatar Red Crescent Society launched a mental health and wellbeing awareness campaign, 'Are You OK?', aimed at encouraging people to talk more openly about their emotional wellbeing. As part of the World Mental Health Day 2021 activities, MOPH and healthcare partners are initiating a national awareness campaign.

Building on the success of last year's campaign, this year's 'Are You OK?' campaign is a collaboration with participating organizations across Qatar that aims to encourage everyone to talk more openly about our mental health. By asking a relative, friend or colleague 'Are you OK?', and by asking it in the right way, this can help to start a conversation with someone we care about who may be finding it difficult to speak openly about their struggles.

Dr. Kholoud Al Mutawa, Head of the Non-Communicable Diseases Section at the Ministry of Public Health, stated:

"The Ministry has paid great attention in promoting mental health for all segments of society, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the impact it had on mental health of the population. Therefore, the Ministry of Public Health in collaboration with its health partners has started many interventions to reduce the pandemic negative impact.

She also added:

"The 'Are you OK?' campaign seeks primarily to attract and drive as many members of the community to combat the stigma and talk about their mental health, as this is the first step to enhance awareness of how to deal with the pressures of daily life and avoid anxiety and stress, as well as interact with others and make good decisions.

Mahmoud Al Raisi, Chair of the National Taskforce for Mental Health and Wellbeing and Chief of the Continuing Care Group at HMC commented:

"Last year proved very successful and attitudes towards mental health are changing in a positive way. We are building on that success and healthcare partners across the healthcare system are collaborating with more than 20 organizations throughout Qatar to engage them in this campaign with a view to raising awareness even further."

He explained:

"Every month on a set day, this network of organizations will share standard information, videos or educational material, highlighting a key mental health and wellbeing message across social media channels. With more than 20 organizations participating in this initiative, these messages will reach a significant number of people in Qatar"

The National Health Strategy 2018-2022 Lead for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Iain Tulley said that this initiative represents an important aspect of Qatar's Mental Health Strategy and the National Health Strategy 2018-2022. He further added:

"Our strategic plans for Mental Health and Wellbeing aim to help reduce stigma, improve access and integrate care. Providing easy access to confidential services which are free from stigma is key to improving the health and wellbeing of our population. The campaign is designed to encourage people who are facing a time of personal difficulty and are in need of emotional support, to seek help quickly, to enhance and hasten recovery to good health."

Dr. Samya Al Abdulla, Deputy National Lead for Mental Health and Wellbeing and Executive Director of Operations at PHCC, said:

"It is wonderful to have the support of so many organizations across the country. This initiative is a perfect example of cross-sector collaboration, with organizations from many sectors outside of health, each playing their part in raising awareness of mental health and wellbeing. Mental health is everyone's business and I commend and thank all our partner organizations for supporting this campaign and helping to create an environment where mental health is talked about as openly as physical health."

In recent years the healthcare sector has significantly expanded services and improved access to mental health services, enabling it to meet increased demand for mental health support and bring services closer to people's homes.

Dr. Majid Al Abdulla, Chair of the Mental Health Service at HMC, explained:

"With the fear of stigma being a key factor in preventing many people from seeking help for psychological distress, the launch of the mental health helpline in April 2020 has been one of the most impactful developments in recent years.
"Since its launch, the confidential helpline has handled over 35,000 calls and the launch of mental health virtual consultations across the healthcare system has also enabled greater access to care, resulting in a greater number of people being able to benefits from psychological support. In November 2020, we also established a virtual women's mental health service to focus specifically on the mental health needs of females who present for the first time to the mental health services. This new service has become an important part of our virtual mental health services, with users reporting very high satisfaction rates."

Source: QNA
Cover image credit: Shutterstock