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Professional counselling at your doorstep

28 Jun 2020 By MOHAMMED TAHA

A new online platform in Oman has made a breakthrough in providing professional counselling, be it psychological, parental, or marriage related, available anytime and anywhere.  

The increase in restrictions on movement, coupled with rising anxieties among people during the pandemic, has led to a rise in people wanting to seek professional help. Providing the service, a newly launched platform Tanfees is providing a safe space for clients in order to seek the help they need and to experience a positive change in their lives.  

The platform has now got the support of Oman Technology Fund (OTF) under its RO1mn investment programme for technology startups in the sultanate.  

Speaking to Muscat Daily, Zainab al Hayki, CEO and founder of Tanfees, said, “The idea for the platform came from my previous job where many people were not sure where to find agood psychologist.” 

Zainab started to work on the idea in February 2019, and said that the project is currently in soft launch stage. “With Tanfees, there is no longer a need to seek out help within your city limits. You have the ability to connect with a psychologist that’s not in your area. You can receive help 24/7 or while you are anywhere. Our platform provides users with complete privacy and confidentiality.” 

Zainab said that the platform is supported by three members. She is joined by her business partner Saja Rasheed Maghrab, who looks after marketing, besides a counselor, too, as part of the team.  

Zainab added that Tanfees is an online platform that was created passionately to make therapy more accessible for a larger group of people. “Through the Tanfees website, clients can connect to therapists, counselors, and psychologists.

Communication with service providers is possible through video calling, audio calling, or live chat. Our aim is to provide a safe space for clients in order to seek the help that they need and to experience a positive change in their lives. Tanfees makes professional counseling (psychological, parental, and marriage) available anytime, anywhere,”said Zainab. 

She said that the need for the platform in Oman was felt for long as access to proper mental health services is not available in all cities. “So, having an online platform that gives easy access to counselors and mental health professionals, with ease and security, will surely benefit many people.” 

“Moreover, during the COVID-19 pandemic, people undergo social isolation, loneliness, health anxiety, stress, which, in turn, harms people’s mental health and wellbeing. Doing nothing would risk a rise in conditions such as anxiety and depression and more people turning to alcohol, drugs and other consequences.” 

She added that getting professional mental health during these times is not easily accessible. “So coming up with an online solution that facilitates getting mental health professional’s help is a necessity. Further, international firms in Oman are encouraging their staff to seek mental health support.” 

Talking about the prospects of the online platform, she said, that despite the rise in number of people with mental health issues and social stigma, the hardship of finding the right psychologist remains a major issue in the Arab region. 

“On the other hand, lockdowns in the current situation further escalated the need to have professional mental health support due to the inability to have face-to-face therapy. Plus, the future is going digital. So, accessing health services online will be the norm. We thank Oman Technology Fund which offered us the required funding and access to experienced mentors that guided us in this journey.” 

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