The helpline follows an agreement between the Office, the Ministry of Community Development’s National Programme for Happiness and Well-being and the Emirates Foundation, and aims to enable frontline professionals to cope with COVID-19 repercussions. The hotline will be directly supported by the Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) and the National Programme for Happiness and Well-being, and will be available from 8am-8pm. A total of 55 specially-trained volunteers will work with the helpline, the Office announced in a statement sent on Sunday.
Almost half (46 per cent) of frontline professionals feel that COVID-19 has negatively impacted their mental health, a quarter of surveyed frontline professionals reported burnout, while 81 per cent 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 specialised mental health support for frontline professionals, with health care workers across the globe reporting high anxiety, stress and a lack of mental health resources.
“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,” said Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, chairman of the board Office.
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.
Mental support team
The mental support lines are run by a team of English and Arabic-speaking volunteers, who are either students in the mental health field, or who specialise in mental health professions like life coaching. The volunteers are supported by a team of 12 second responders, including clinical psychologists.
The Office aims to appreciate the efforts of frontline professionals during times of emergency and crises, and is mandated to listen and respond to the challenges and priorities of the UAE’s frontline professionals. It will also implement short-term and long-term solutions to directly address those challenges, as well as ensure that those who sacrifice and put themselves at risk to protect the people of the UAE are nationally recognised and celebrated.
The Office itself was established in July 2020 by Presidential Decree, under the Chairmanship of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.