Live sessions to help UAE residents manage mental health during social isolation

Daily sessions with experts will be broadcast from 8.30pm via the NPHW social media channels

A team of 50 experts in the UAE will offer online counselling to help people deal with mental health issues. Getty 
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Experts in the UAE are helping people stay mentally and emotionally fit as they face social isolation to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

A campaign by the country's National Programme for Happiness and Well-being (NPHW) has brought together 50 social psychology experts to help people who may be struggling with loneliness and other mental health problems.

As coronavirus cases increase in the country, the Dubai Government imposed tougher restrictions on movement and travel from April 4.

The public  are advised to avoid all non-essential travel and stay home.

Under the current circumstances, mental support is a basic need

The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management said the new rules will last for two weeks and those who breach the order will face strict penalties.

The campaign by NPHW will use social media and live online sessions to broadcast advice on how to stay mentally well during the next two weeks.

“Under the current circumstances, mental support is a basic need, so the NPHW launched this national campaign to meet this vital community requirement,” said Ohoud Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing.

“It aims to help all community members cope with the current challenges by providing them with mental support, leveraging the experience of a group of distinguished experts and mental health professionals.

"The initiative further seeks to promote reassurance, raise awareness and ensure community commitment to support the government efforts aiming to protect people’s health and safety.”

The online support programme consists of three components: there will be daily sessions with mental health experts that will be broadcast from 8.30pm via the NPHW social media channels @HappyUAE; a series of short videos on how to build coping skills and mental resilience will be shown; and virtual support groups offering mental health advice to vulnerable groups   such as mothers, students and elderly carers.

"This initiative aims to enhance psycho-social support, promote the spirit of positivity, and provide expert advice, experiences and information to help people deal with the current challenges," said Aziz Al Ameri, executive director of the National  Programme for Happiness and Wellbeing.

The Ministry of Community Development also launched the Taaluf initiative to offer free family counselling to all UAE residents.

There will be four interactive channels providing support for families to help them during home quarantine, the  Ministry said last week.

Residents across the country have also rallied together to support one another in times of crisis.

From waiving rent payments to distributing free hygiene products, Emiratis and UAE residents have come together to counter  the coronavirus outbreak with acts of kindness and community strength.

A Facebook page called UAE Fusion Socialites run by Hena Khan, a Dubai resident, encourages some of her 19,658 group members to donate groceries to help those in need.

Worshippers in the country have also come together to pray online and assist those who may be worried about family members.