recent report by the Federal National Council (FNC) has recommended an increase in salaries and work-related benefits for mental health workers across the country with the aim of attracting more Emiratis to the specialised field.
The report has been published on policy of the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) with the goal to promote mental health in the UAE. The report included several recommendations adopted by FNC members for the betterment of workers. Furthermore, the council is seeking to refer these recommendations to the government as part of the next meeting to ensure that appropriate measures are taken for the welfare of mental health workers.
Other key recommendations include the need to strengthen training and rehabilitation programs for national cadres focusing on specialisations in the field of psychiatry. Necessary attention has also been placed on specialised competencies in treating children and people of determination along with establishment of partnerships with relevant educational institutions and hospitals.
At the same time, the Emirates Foundation for Health Services has confirmed that it is successfully attracting specialised cadres in the mental health sector despite global shortage of forces. As per the officials, the total number of medical professionals specialised in the field of mental health currently working with the Foundation has reached 371 specialists.
A report presented by the foundation to members of the Federal National Council also confirmed that multidisciplinary mental health professionals expanded by 47 percent between 2019-2021 with a total number of 5,461 employees.
The Emirates Foundation for Health Services also informed that it engaged in several partnerships with health authorities, governmental and private educational institutions, and leading international hospitals to further the skills and capabilities of workers in the field of mental, social and rehabilitative health. Furthermore, the foundation has signed agreements and memoranda of understanding with universities and international health institutions in the region as well as countries across the world including the USA, Canada, Britain and several European nations.
The foundation underlined that several clinical psychologists have been appointed to develop their skills through a professional development program. The program includes training in using assessment tools for mental disorders and cognitive behavioural therapy techniques.
The institution has increased the number of mental health training programs to about 112, benefiting 30,492 employees and trainees. As part of their strategy, they are developing medical and technical cadres to build partnerships, especially with health institutions and bodies and relevant authorities. These efforts are aimed at supporting the country’s goals to achieve global competitiveness in mental health.
Last month, Naema Abdullah Al Sharhan, the second deputy speaker of the FNC and Chairperson of the FNC Committee on Health and Environmental Affairs, discussed a report highlighting the difficulty faced by the authorities in diagnosing mental disorders among children due to the lack of designated psychiatric clinics.
The report also pointed out that many psychiatric patients are not able to complete their treatment due to the lack of health insurance coverage for the mental illness treatment services. Such drawbacks result in the patients and their families bearing heavy costs of the treatment.