Mobile apps connect people in Türkiye to mental health services during the COVID-19 pandemic


Image courtesy Ministry of Health, Türkiye

Policy approach(es) used to catalyse investment: Development of a national, regional, or sectoral InfraTech strategy 

Technology approach(es) used to catalyse investment: Change in the supply of healthcare services  

Finance approach(es) used to catalyse investment: Public investment

Key benefits: 

  • Enhanced social inclusion 
  • Enhanced pandemic preparedness and response 
  • Improved infrastructure delivery and performance 

Scale of deployment: 

1,683 consultations took place on RUHSAD, with 44 psychiatrists, 3,189 registered users.

3,800 consultations took place on ÖZDES with 41 psychologists, two psychiatrists and 5,963 registered users 

Project start/end dates: 

  • ÖZDES 11 April 2020, 31 days after first case
  • RUHSAD 30 March 2020, 19 days after first case.
  • Concluded 07 August 2020, end of pandemic restrictions  

Current status of the project: 


Anticipating that the pandemic would have disproportionate consequences across their population, the Ministry of Health, Türkiye swiftly engaged policy action and digitisation in the interests of creating conditions for equitable access to health services. Two mobile apps were developed:

  • RUHSAD (Mental Health Support System) mobile app for health professionals
  • ÖZDES (Special Children Support System) app.

Using these apps, individuals could benefit from psychological support with chat, or consult with a psychiatrist online at any time.  This enabled access to mental health support to all 81 provinces of Türkiye without distinction, ensuring that support was accessible to those disadvantaged sectors of the population who were likely to be most in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Turkey Mental Health services app

Image courtesy Ministry of Health, Türkiye

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Health Information Systems Department deployed over 24 mobile applications. The experience accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed the Ministry of Health to build up experience and infrastructure for new projects in the field of mobile health and telehealth. Recently, the Ministry of Health published the Remote Health Care Regulation to provide regulation for remote health care offering and to enable its expansion.  


This Turkish Ministry of Health project was carried out with public funds. However, there are various mobile applications in the field of online consultation. Depending on the country and the business model, it is possible to opt for different marketing models:

  • B2B to sell the service to health professionals or health structures
  • B2G for services created by the private sector with the possibility of reimbursement by the state
  • B2C for users who can self-pay.

Other approaches that enabled investment

  • Data protection: All Ministry of Health projects in Türkiye ensure the security and protection of health data is treated in accordance with the regulations. All users are provided with a secure space and clear consent. All data is stored anonymously with privacy protection.
  • Accessibility: The developers focused on ensuring applications were user-friendly so that every user with a mobile phone and an internet connection could benefit from these tools.  
  • Speed: In the context of a global crisis where the number of cases is increasing exponentially, these tools needed to be developed in a short timeframe while guaranteeing all standards and quality. The project was launched 31 days after the first case of COVID-19 in Türkiye, to provide access to care and support to the most disadvantaged populations.


Note: This case study and all information within was submitted by the Ministry of Health, Türkiye in response to our global call for InfraTech case studies.

Last Updated: 19 October 2022