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UAE Residents Seek Affordable Mental Health Care Overseas

DALL·E 2024 01 18 12.51.54 A conceptual image of a mental health counseling session taking place in an office representing the high costs of therapy in the UAE. The setting is

Seeking Solutions: UAE Residents Turn to Overseas Counsellors Amid High Costs

In the UAE, the high costs of mental healthcare are leading residents to seek more affordable options abroad. This trend underscores the growing need for accessible mental health services in the region.

The Rising Costs of Mental Healthcare

For many UAE residents, accessing quality mental health care within the country has become financially challenging. Insurance limitations and high out-of-pocket expenses are significant barriers. For example, a resident named Jack reached his insurance limit of Dh5,000 after just 10 sessions, finding the subsequent costs too high to continue therapy locally.

Turning to International Platforms

As a result, residents like Jack are turning to online mental health platforms based in countries like the United States. These platforms offer sessions at substantially lower rates, around $50-$70 per hour, compared to the Dh1,000 per hour charged for similar quality care in the UAE.

Cultural and Personal Preferences

The choice of overseas counsellors is not solely driven by cost. Many residents seek therapists who understand their cultural background and family dynamics. Online platforms often allow users to select counsellors based on various factors, including cultural and religious outlook, enhancing the therapy’s effectiveness.

Long-Term Mental Health Journey

UAE residents recognize that mental health treatment is a long-term process. The flexibility and affordability of overseas platforms offer a sustainable option for continuous care. Changing therapists when needed or taking a break becomes easier through these international services.

The Need for Accessible Care

This trend highlights a significant gap in the UAE’s mental health care system – the need for more accessible and affordable services. While the UAE has made strides in healthcare, addressing the cost and availability of mental health services remains a critical challenge.


The shift towards overseas counsellors among UAE residents points to a larger issue of high mental healthcare costs and limited insurance coverage. It calls for a reevaluation of mental health policies and insurance coverage to make care more accessible to all residents, irrespective of their financial standing.

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