UAE: New initiative offers free 24/7 mental health services as part of insurance plans

It is completely digital so customers are able to book, schedule, and access therapy or counselling whenever they need it, directly from their home, office, or any other location

by

Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Fri 19 May 2023, 2:47 PM

Last updated: Fri 19 May 2023, 6:05 PM

Now, UAE residents — who hold certain insurance plans — can get 24/7 mental health support without having to shell out a single dirham, thanks to a new initiative.

At no extra cost, a new programme called WellxMind can be integrated into existing insurance coverage, providing beneficiaries with online counselling sessions, therapy, and other mental health services anytime, anywhere.


Customers, however, must have Wellx-powered insurance plans to access WellxMind services through their phone or computer. Members can log in using just their mobile phone number through the Wellx app.

"Our mission is to create healthier, happier and more resilient communities and WellxMind is a step in the right direction towards achieving this,” said Javed Akberlali, co-founder and managing director at Wellx.


How it works

Currently, WellxMind is available through three insurers: Dubai National Insurance, Salama and NLGI. “However, with more insurers coming aboard, we hope to expand this reach considerably,” said Javed.

To identify their needs, customers first have to undergo a personalised initial assessment with a trained therapist or counsellor. Then, they will be matched with the most appropriate mental well-being professional.

Therapists and counsellors will decide on the length and type of treatment. The limit of treatment is based on the customers' insurance policy and the benefits offered through their existing insurance plan.

High cost of mental health services

Globally, one out of four people suffer from some form of mental health challenge during their lifetime, yet more than 75 per cent of those who need mental well-being support do not seek it. In addition to social stigma and lack of awareness, limited insurance coverage and unaffordable prices for mental health services further hinder access to mental health care in the GCC.

For instance, in the UAE, a single psychotherapy session can cost Dh1,000 or more.

Wellx has teamed up with Amal Counsel, a UAE-based non-profit counseling service. The aim is to offer personalised, one-on-one therapy and counseling, accessible through mobile phones.

According to its creators, the choice to keep Wellx completely online was a conscious one. “We understand seeking mental well-being support may be daunting for some and have designed WellxMind to make it easy for customers to access support, in a confidential, safe way,” said Dr Anushka P, co-founder and chief product officer of Wellx.

"[Our] services are digital, so customers, will be able to book, schedule and access therapy or counselling online, whenever they need it, directly from their home, office or any location convenient for them.”

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