Mandatory health insurance in Dubai will now offer greater mental health support, after the need for more coverage was highlighted during Mental Health Awareness Week last month.
Many insurers only covered mental health emergencies when packages were tailored to an individual's’ demands, with Dubai Health Authority's basic plan - used by many low earning workers in the country - offering absolutely no psychiatric services.
That is set to change however, with senior health officials confirming that mental illness is an area where improvements are needed.
CEO of the Dubai Healthcare Corporation (DHC), Dr Younis Al Kazim, said: “Mental health is going to be part of the public health strategy. We cannot ignore it as it is important in providing stability to an individual at home and at the workplace. Many a time, patients from the Intensive Care Unit who may have suffered a cardiac episode can be affected psychologically, and live in fear of losing their life.
“We have had several cases of patients going into depression once they were discharged, making it difficult for them to reintegrate into the community and be productive. Now we are working to have mental health included in health insurance. The patients will receive psychological counselling along with associated ongoing treatments.”
Gradually the stigma around mental health conditions is dropping, however in many Arab countries - where traditional attitudes remain - there is still plenty of work to be done.
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