Doha: The Mental Health Service of the Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has won the international Health Workers Recognition Award. This was announced by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office last week.
Hamad Medical Corporation’s Senior Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Director for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Dr May Al Muraisi won the Service Delivery Award. The Mental Health Service offered by the Hamad Medical Corporation was very active during the peak of the Covid 19 pandemic, helping so many in a very short period.
The Mental Health Helpline, consisting of a professional mental health team, allows people to seek guidance on stress or anxiety. In collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health and Primary Health Care Corporation, HMC established this helpline back in 2020. Currently, the helpline handles 200 to 300 calls a week, having handled over 37,000 calls since its launch.
Ms Katja Warwick-Smith, Assistant Executive Director Clinical Service Development; Mr Raed Amro, Assistant Executive Director of Mental Health Services; and Dr Shazger Hamad, Clinical Psychologist, were key contributors to establishing the helpline. It was a team effort involving the medical team, nurses, clinical pharmacists, and volunteers that made this successful.
“COVID-19 forced us to change many aspects of how we live our lives and caused many people to feel frightened, confused, anxious and low. The launch of the Mental Health Helpline has enabled people experiencing stress and anxiety to gain fast access to professional mental health support. With the helpline having managed more than 37,000 calls to date, it has been one of the most important and valuable services throughout the pandemic and continues to offer people in Qatar much-needed support.” said the Chairman of Psychiatry and Medical Director of the Mental Health Service at HMC, Dr Majid Al Abdulla.
“I would like to thank the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office for its continued support and for organizing the Health Workers Recognition Awards which are shining a light on the incredible work of healthcare professionals across the region throughout the pandemic,” added Dr Al Abdulla.
“Within the last three years, the Mental Health Service has developed a great deal, and we have increased our capacity by providing additional beds, becoming easily accessible, with more subspecialty, while embarking on more research and education. Also, telepsychiatry and the helpline have become essential parts of our services,” added Dr Al Abdulla.
“I am honoured to receive this award from the WHO EMRO and I am delighted to accept it on behalf of the entire team in the mental health service who have worked tirelessly since the start of the pandemic. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved by establishing the Mental Health Helpline. Every day, we provide professional advice and support to hundreds of people experiencing emotional distress,” explained Dr Al Muraisi.
“The reasons for calling vary; the most common complaints are related to anxiety and depression. Sometimes users already have a mental health diagnosis and call for a review or early intervention to prevent deterioration in their mental health, while some call seeking more general advice. By ensuring that callers can maintain their anonymity, the helpline removes any stigma that may be associated with seeking mental health support which is often seen as a barrier preventing people from accessing the support they need,” added Dr Al Muraisi.