Sharjah24: Health-tech start-up Takalam, an online counseling platform for mental well-being, recently won the Wellness Platform of The Year Award by Entrepreneur Middle East. This annual award series recognises businesses and individuals across the Middle East that have established themselves as clear industry innovators.
Takalam launched a platform last year offering a private and convenient counseling service that connects individuals directly with mental health professionals. Services currently being offered include individual therapy, couples therapy, and group therapy.
The Platform guides users through the journey by matching them with a relevant expert in accordance to their needs and based on personal preferences. Treatments are focused on issues such as depression, stress, and anxiety, among others. All services are provided online, through video and audio calls, as well as live text-based chatting, while also providing the option of anonymity.
Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth and President of Zayed University, said: “If challenges with mental health would affect our ability to participate in the demands of daily life and thrive towards our personal ambitions and goals, then it would be irrational not to seek professional counselling to resolve any drawbacks. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) globally, anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental disorders, affecting 1 in 6 adults, and two-thirds of those affected do not seek help for their issues.”
She further added, “Takalam initiative is foreseen as a great start and a new beginning to increase the help-seeking behavior within our community, and hopefully would lead to a more informed understanding towards challenges concerning mental health, wave off the social stigma, and rather see the process of seeking help in a positive light.”
The platform is the first of its kind in the UAE to offer mental health support in Arabic and English to individuals as well as organisations seeking support for their employees during these unprecedented times. Takalam has developed an innovative Employee Well-Being Program which takes a proactive approach in focusing on mental health care at the workplace. The platform has been onboarding qualified mental health experts who contribute to the vision of making mental health services accessible to all. By digitizing their services, clinics and therapists benefit from the ability to scale their offerings with little marginal cost. This reduces any disruption to their businesses during these unprecedented times by allowing remote interactions that ensure safety measures of minimizing in-person contact. Most importantly, there is no compromise to the substance of service, and this ensures the ability of a therapist to help more individuals, particularly considering the rise in demand that has resulted from the pandemic.
Takalam was founded with the objective of eliminating the stigma associated with seeking mental health support particularly in the UAE and surrounding region. The company has global aspirations considering many people regardless of background face similar hesitation due to stigma and willingness to seek support.
The Founder and CEO of Takalam, Khawla Hammad, a Zayed University (ZU) alumni, commented on the launch stating, “Takalam is committed to being proactive by removing the social stigma and barriers to seeking help. Our aim is to empower individuals and employers to access the support they need in a manner that promotes understanding, accessibility, and affordability.”
Takalam thrived under the guidance of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center at ZU. The Center’s Director, Dr. Wasseem Abaza, stated, “We are very proud of what they have achieved so far and look forward to what they will achieve in the future.”
Takalam has also been a part of the Abu Dhabi Department of Health Tech-Hub and has been recently selected among six global startups to join the Ma’an Accelerator Program in Partnership with Plug-n-Play Abu Dhabi. The startup was also selected to be featured among eight companies at GITEX Future Stars under the umbrella of the Dubai Startup Hub.
January 31, 2021 / 12:08 PM