Coronavirus: Abu Dhabi establishes hotline to support workers' mental health during pandemic

Staffed by trained responders who give advice on matters including how to improve communication with family to importance of hobbies

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Abu Dhabi has set up a hotline to boost the mental health of workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Trained responders will offer essential information and advice, and lend a compassionate ear to people finding it hard to cope with the coronavirus outbreak.

They will tell callers how to improve communication with family and friends, and emphasise the benefits of a hobby or learning a new skill to aid their well-being.

It is part of the You Matter campaign, which is being run by the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee for the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Department of Community Development.

Officials urged workers to seek help if they were feeling sad, anxious or even contemplating self-harm because of pressure from the public health crisis.

"The workers are an essential part of society, and we are working in parallel with the specialists in Abu Dhabi to identify their needs and provide what they lack to ensure their safety while they are in the workers' residences," said Hamad Ali Al Dhaheri, undersecretary of the Department of Community Development.

"And in response to our findings we launched the ‘You Matter’ campaign, which aims to provide psychological support to workers.

The hotline is 800 937292.

The UAE has adopted a wide-ranging approach to supporting citizens, residents and tourists stuck in the country because of the outbreak in recent months.

In May, Abu Dhabi screened all workers living in the Mussaffah industrial area to curb the spread of Covid-19. The testing was free of charge.

Authorities said no legal action would be taken against those who were living in the emirate on expired visas because the community’s safety was the top priority.

Meanwhile, officials have worked closely with other nations to ensure hundreds of thousands of people have been repatriated from the UAE since the start of the pandemic

Some of them had lost their jobs or were living on expired visas, but others just wished to be closer to their families.

A large number of those who have been helped were from India and Pakistan.

Hotlines have also been set up in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to support parents, pupils and staff through the challenges of the new school year.

Abu Dhabi's Department of Education and Knowledge has launched a helpline, on 056 377 1833, to answer any questions regarding the return to classrooms.

Dubai Health Authority said its 24-hour service, available on 800 588, would provide a wide range of information on the stringent protocols in place at private schools.

"The launch of this service reinforces the authority’s commitment to providing effective communication channels to the community, offering timely and accurate health information," the Dubai Health Authority said.