The Ministry of Health and UNICEF launch Timor-Leste’s first-ever mental health hotline

04 June 2020
The Ministry of Health and UNICEF  launch Timor-Leste’s  first-ever mental health hotline
UNICEF Timor-Leste/2020/Ceu

A toll-free telephone service will provide support and information to those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic

DILI, 4 June 2020 – The Ministry of Health and United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) in Timor-Leste today launched the country’s first telephone hotline dedicated to mental health. The project is part of ongoing response and recovery activities around the COVID-19 crisis. The hotline was launched by Dra. Odete da Silva Viegas, Director-General of Health Services and Valérie Taton, UNICEF Representative at Eis-SPK Lahane, Dili.

To establish the hotline, UNICEF helped to procure information and computer technology resources including computers, monitors and other equipment. UNICEF will also help develop radio and television public service announcements to help raise awareness on the hotlines and services provided. 

“The effects of the coronavirus pandemic have been diverse and have not discriminated,” said UNICEF Timor-Leste Representative, Valérie Taton, at the launch event. “In Timor-Leste, UNICEF and our partners have been working to ensure that children and young people are supported in every aspect of their lives that may have been impacted by the crisis, including, crucially, their mental health. Timor-Leste’s large, youthful population is the future of the country, so their health – every aspect of it – is crucial to the country’s development, and this hotline with be useful to them and their families.”

“Under the shadow of COVID-19, people from all walks of life are facing increased challenges due to changed lifestyles, fears of contracting the disease, lost connections with family and friends, and many other things,” said Dra.Veigas. “With this hotline, we hope to offer Timor-Leste’s children and young people a new avenue to seek help and support to overcome some of the biggest challenges of our time.” 

The hotline will be operated by the Ministry of Health and PRADET, a local non-governmental organisation that has been providing psychosocial services in Timor-Leste for the past 20 years.

Calls to the hotline will be answered by trained mental health councellors, who can offer over-the-phone support as well as referrals to other health services. The hotline will also provide information to those seeking support for key health issues such as maternal, child health and newborn care, nutrition and seek advice for general health treatment or health information. 

The mental health and psychosocial support hotline and all of the awareness material, including radio and video messages are funded by the Government of Japan. The hotline is toll-free for six months and will be implemented with support from Timor-Leste’s mobile phone service providers Telcomcel, Telemor and Timor Telecom.

There are currently no active cases of COVID-19 in Timor-Leste. Of the 24 previously confirmed cases in the country, each patient has recovered and no deaths have been recorded. A 30-day state of emergency was declared in the country on 27 March. This has since been extended twice. The latest period is set to end on 27 June 2020.

The mental health and psychosocial support hotline can be accessed by calling 12123.


For further information, please contact:

Ministry of Health: Mr. Raul Sarmento, coordinator of Pillar 2 (Risk Communication and Community Engagement),

Rukshan Ratnam, Communication Specialist, UNICEF, (English)

Antonio Gomez, Communication Officer, UNICEF, (Tetum)



Ministeriu Saúde ho UNICEF lansa hotline saúde mental dahuluk iha Timor-Leste


Servisu telefóniku gratuita sei fornese apoiu informasaun ba sira ne’ebe hetan impaktu husi pandemia koronavirus 

Dili, 4 Juñu 2020 – Ministeriu Saúde ho Fundus Nasoins Unidas ba Labarik (UNICEF) iha Timor-Leste lansa ohin loron servisu telefóniku hotline dedikadu ba saúde mental. Projetu ne’e hanesan parte ida husi apoiu daudaun ba prevensaun COVID-19. Hotline ne’e lansa ona husi Dra. Odete da Silva Viegas, Diretora Jeral Prestasaun Servisu Saúde ho Valerie Taton, Reprezentativa UNICEF iha Timor-leste, iha eis SPK Lahane, Dili. 

Atu estabelese hotline ne’e, UNICEF ajuda atu hetan informasaun no rekursu teknolojia komputador inklui komputador, monitor no ekipamentu seluk. UNICEF sei mós ajuda dezenvolve anunsiu publiku radiu no televizaun atu ajuda konsientiza kona-ba hotline sira no servisu prestadu.

“Efeitu husi pandemia koronavirus ne’e oin-oin deit no la deskrimina,” dehan Reprezentativa UNICEF iha Timor-Leste, Valerie Taton, iha iventu lansamentu ne’e. “Iha Timor-Leste, UNICEF ho ita nia parseiru sira servisu hela ona atu garante labarik no foinsa’e sira hetan apoiu iha aspetu hotu husi sira-nia moris mak bele hetan impaktu husi krizi ne’e, inklui, krusialmente, sira-nia saúde mental. Timor-Leste nia foinsa’e mak futuru país nian, tanba ne’e sira-nia saúde – aspetu hotu – krusial ba dezenvolvimentu país ne’e.”

“Iha COVID_19 nia mahon, populasaun husi parte hotu iha moris hasosu aumentu dezafiu tanba mudansa estilu moris,” dehan Dra. Viegas. “Ho hotline ne’e, ita hakarak atu oferese ba Timor-Leste nia labarik no foinsa’e sira espasu foun ida atu ajuda no apoia ultrapasa dezafiu boot balun ba ita-nia tempu.”

Hotline nia opersasaun sei halo husi Ministeriu Saúde no PRADET, organizasaun naun governamental lokal mak halao knaar psikososial iha Timor-Leste ba tinan 20 ona. 

Xamada ba hotline sei hatan husi konselleiru formadu iha saúde mental sira, sira ne’ebe bele oferese apoiu liu husi telefone hanesan mós referal ba servisu sa’ude sira seluk. Hotline ne’e mós oferese informasaun ba sira ne’ebe presiza apoiu ba problema saúde xave sira hanesan maternidade, saúde labarik no kuidadu bebé foin moris, nutrisaun no presiza konsellu ba tratamentu saúde jeral ka informasaun saúde nian.

Hotline ba apoiu saúde mental no psikososial no material resposta sira hotu, inklui mensajen radiu no televizaun finansia ho fundus husi Governu Japaun. Hotline ne’e gratuita ba fulan neen no sei implementa ho apoiu husi fornesedor servisu telekomunikasaun iha Timor-Leste hanesan Telecolcel, Telemor no Timor Telecom.

Atualmente la iha ona kazu COVID-10 pozitivu iha Timor-Leste. Husi kazu konfirmadu nain 24 iha país ne’e, pasiente ida-idak rekupera ona no la iha ema ida mate. Estadu emerjensia loron 30 deklara ona iha país ne’e iha 27 Marsu. Halo tiha ona extensaun dala-rua. Periudu dala-ikus previstu ba 27 Juñu 2020.

Hotline apoiu ba saúde mental no psikososial bele asesu liu husi bolu ba 12123, oras 24 lorn ida, loron 7 iha semana ida. 


Ba informasaun detallu bele kontaktu:

Ministeriu Saúde:
Ministry of Health: Mr. Raul Sarmento, coordinator of Pillar 2 (Risk Communication and Community Engagement),

Rukshan Ratnam, Communication Specialist, UNICEF, (English)
Antonio Gomez, Communication Officer, UNICEF, (Tetum)

Media contacts

Tapuwa Loreen Mutseyekwa
Advocacy and Communication Specialist
UNICEF Timor-Leste
Tel: +67077231103
Tel: +670 331 1297, Extension: 1820
Antonio Gomes
Communication Officer (Tetum)
UNICEF Timor-Leste
Tel: +670 7723 2441
Tel: +670 331 1300, Extension: 1821


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For more information about UNICEF Timor-Leste and its work for children, visit

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