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Hotlines to support people in distress during crises

9 Oct 2021 By MOHAMMED TAHA

Muscat – In efforts to support citizens and residents during the ongoing pandemic and natural disasters, the Ministry of Health has urged people who face psychological issues to use its dedicated hotlines.

The ministry operates more than 20 hotlines for people encountering psychological problems in five languages – Arabic, English, Hindi, Tagalog and Persian.

The ministry’s hotlines include specific phone numbers to support the community and health workers in North Sharqiyah, Al Masarra Hospital, The Royal Hospital and one running in cooperation with Whispers of Serenity Clinic.

Speaking to Muscat Daily, Dr Marwa al Balushi from The Royal Hospital, said, “We provide psychological support to all medical personnel working in our hospital. Hotlines aim to help medical staff and listen to their psychological problems during the pandemic and disasters such as Shaheen, which hit Oman recently. The pandemic had a significant psychological impact on health workers. We received a lot of calls during the pandemic, regarding anxiety, depression and self-isolation issues.”

The Royal Hospital is also trying to help health workers who have been psychologically impacted by Shaheen communicate with the concerned authorities in addressing other non-medical problems they faced as a result of the cyclone.

Psychiatrist Marwa al Maawali from Al Masarra Hospital, said, “We provide psychological support to all members of society and health workers in our hospital. We listen to the problems of the caller and try to diagnose their condition and direct them to the emergency Psychological Counseling Department at Al Masarra Hospital, which works around the clock.”

Marwa informed that the hotline deals with people who face problems such fear of infection from coronavirus and fear of death. “We urge them to visit a psychiatrist who can give them the right treatment.”

Despite the advice given by counsellors on the hotlines, according to Marwa, some people are ashamed to visit a psychiatrist “because they think that a mentally ill person is a crazy person”.

“We encourage people to contact the psychological hotlines. People must realise that mental illness is a disease like any other disease, such as blood pressure and diabetes.”

Helpline services for the community and healthcare providers (North Sharqiyah)
93494584/93597549/ 25570141

Al Masarra Hospital
24873760/248733761

The Royal Hospital
71970902/79056079/ 97304444

Whispers of Serenity Clinic
English & Hindi 72523868
Monday, English
96247544
Tuesday, Arabic & English
98037849
Thursday, Persian & English
92878855
Friday, English & Tagalog
95319817
Saturday, Arabic & English
99898097

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