Efforts to address mental health issues
In early 2019, Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) announced the launch of a number of digital solutions technologies in the mental and psychological field, which will lead to a quantum leap in the clinical practices field. These digital solutions include the treatment by using virtual reality technology to help understand schizophrenia and to learn more about the suffering of patients with this disease, through the use of Gear by Oculus technology.
In addition, MoHAP, represented by the Specialized Care Department of Hospitals Sector, and in collaboration with Sharjah Roads & Transport Authority, organised awareness lectures in English and Urdu to raise Sharjah taxi drivers’ awareness about mental disorders. A medical team from MoHAP conducted examinations for 100 drivers to assess their acquaintance with mental disorders causes and treatment. The team distributed mental-disorders-related brochures including how to control these disorders and the places where drivers can go for diagnosis and treatment.
Dubai Health Authority’s smart clinic observes 10 October every year as World Mental Health Day. Depression affects an estimated 350 million people around the world, and more women are affected than men. It is one of the main causes of disability worldwide. In the Arab world, it is estimated that 17.7 per cent of the population suffers from depression and this figure is only the tip of the iceberg because not everyone with mental health problems come forward and seek treatment due to the stigma associated with mental health diseases.
To support the spreading of awareness of mental health, reduce stigma and end discrimination against those with mental illness within the UAE, Al Jalila Foundation awarded three Emirati journalists, the ‘Mental Health Journalism Fellowship’. The fellowship promotes the publication of quality discussion around mental illness encouraging awareness and acceptance to a stigmatised hidden condition.