• 5/13/2024

    ​​Doha 13 May 2024: The National Mental Health Helpline continues to respond to an increasing demand for confidential, mental health support from communities across Qatar. Since opening in April 2020, the helpline, staffed by a dedicated team of professionals, comprising psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health nurses from Hamad Medical Corporation, has handled a growing number of calls.

    The helpline saw a 32% surge in total calls between 2022 and 2023. Callers to the helpline are from various backgrounds and from both genders with slightly higher use (56%) by females.

    Many of the callers (60%) are known to the mental health service and the line provides easy access to appointments, medication and advice. New callers (40%) are seeking help in managing difficulties sleeping, help with anxiety and depression and other psychological stresses. Many callers are seeking help and advice in respect of a family member, friend or a colleague.

    There has been a notable increase in demand for family and carer support, with family members seeking advice and assistance in January 2024 alone. Furthermore, psychologists have seen a 44% increase in caseloads in 2023 compared to the previous year.

    Mr. Iain Tulley, National Health Strategy Lead for Mental Health and CEO of HMC's Mental Health Service, highlighted the significance of Qatar's National Health Strategy which has Mental Health & Wellbeing as a key priority. He emphasized the critical role played by the helpline in providing easy, responsive and confidential help when someone is in need, avoiding the stigma that often surrounds mental health.

    “The continued dedication and expertise of those who operate the helpline has made a huge contribution to the health and wellbeing of people in Qatar. The team is able to respond to increasing complexity in cases and offer support at times of need. The helpline is becoming the primary access point for men and women of all nationalities, this is reflected in the growing demand for the service. ,” said Mr. Tulley.

    The helpline has a team of trained professionals who can offer a range of support from assessment, brief intervention, sign posting to help or facilitating referral to more specialist help and treatment.

    Ms. Katja Warwick-Smith, Assistant Executive Director of Clinical Service Development and Head of the Helpline, highlighted the diverse composition of the team, comprising international, multilingual, and inter-professional staff to cater to the varied needs of callers. Emphasizing linguistic diversity, she noted that experts are proficient in Arabic, English, Tagalog, Hindi, Urdu, and Malayalam, aligning with the multicultural fabric of Qatar. Approximately 70% of callers are Arabic speakers and 22% are English speakers; of the remaining 8% of callers the majority are Malayalam or Hindi speakers.

    The Helpline offers tailored support streams for parents with children, adults, older adults, and healthcare professionals, ensuring confidentiality and providing the option for follow-up interventions as needed.

    Accessible via the Qatar Healthcare Unified Contact Center at #16000, callers can select their preferred language (Arabic or English) and choose option 4 for the Mental Health Helpline.