Developing a Digital Mental Health Platform for the Arab World: From Research to Action

Mowafa Househ, Tanvir Alam, Dena Al-Thani, Jens Schneider, Mohammad Ali Siddig, Luis Fernandez, Marwa Qaraqe, Ala Alfuquha, Shekhar Saxena

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Individuals within the Arab world rarely access mental health services. One of the major reasons for this relates to the stigma associated with mental disorders. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), untreated and undiagnosed individuals living with moderate to severe mental health disorders are more likely to die 10-20 years earlier than the estimated life expectancy of the general population. Mental disorders also cause a large amount of costs to economies. Access to mental health services is out of reach for many individuals within in the Arab world due to insufficient planning, inadequate community resources, and military conflicts. Online mental health information and services are growing within the region; however, they are embedded and often sidelined within a wealth of other general health information. The purpose of this paper is to present the conceptual framework of the Mental Health Assistant (MeHA) digital platform being developed for the Arab world. The aim of this platform is to provide mental health information and educational resources through the use of a conversational agent, multi-media information, and to digitally connect patients with mental health service providers. The conceptual framework for the platform is based on mental health and information technology expert feedback, review of both academic and gray literature on mental health, and an examination of leading mental health digital platforms. As a result of this process, we developed a conceptual framework that will guide the development of the MeHA platform.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHealth Informatics Vision
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Data via Information to Knowledge
EditorsMowafa S. Househ, Aikaterini Kolokathi, Arie Hasman, Parisis Gallos, Joseph Liaskos, John Mantas
PublisherIOS Press
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781614999867
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameStudies in Health Technology and Informatics
ISSN (Print)0926-9630
ISSN (Electronic)1879-8365



  • Anxiety
  • Arab world
  • Depression
  • Mental health
  • Qatar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Health Informatics
  • Health Information Management

Cite this

Househ, M., Alam, T., Al-Thani, D., Schneider, J., Siddig, M. A., Fernandez, L., Qaraqe, M., Alfuquha, A., & Saxena, S. (2019). Developing a Digital Mental Health Platform for the Arab World: From Research to Action. In M. S. Househ, A. Kolokathi, A. Hasman, P. Gallos, J. Liaskos, & J. Mantas (Eds.), Health Informatics Vision: From Data via Information to Knowledge (pp. 392-395). (Studies in Health Technology and Informatics; Vol. 262). IOS Press.