Mental health professionals say there is greater need for improved services to support patients, but many insurance plans in the UAE are lacking.
Coverage for mental health support remains unclear, with the UAE care system falling short of international standards to provide accessible support to those in desperate times.
Several health insurers were contacted by The National for a definitive answer on what plans covered mental health support, but few responded.
A spokeswoman for Oman Insurance Company said: “Mental health covers are offered as part of our tailor-made policies when requested.
“Additionally, some of our pre-underwritten plans for SME do cover psychiatric treatment.”
Daman, the Abu Dhabi-based health insurance provider, said psychiatric services come as standard in Thiqa policies and in the Premier plan available for individual and corporate policies, but not in more standard packages.
“Coverage of psychiatric services can be added on to a number of corporate policies as part of a range of optional benefits that employers can choose from to tailor-make their policies,” a spokesman said.
“Daman continues to review its health insurance policies in line with market and regulatory changes”
Dubai Health Authority’s basic mandatory health insurance plan – which many construction workers and blue collar employees benefit from – does not cover any mental health services, though members can top up their coverage.
Despite growing recognition in society of the need for services to turn to, no public mental health support hotline exists.
Residents can call private mental health clinics for advice.
The Camali Clinic can be reached on 04 276 6064 and the American Wellness Center on 04 514 4042.
Patients are usually then referred to specialists at the government-run Rashid Hospital in Dubai or the public sector-run Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi.
From 10-17 October, Dubai Health Care City clinics are offering complimentary consultations for anyone with a mental health concern. Call 800-HEALTH to book an appointment.