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MoPH launches mental health awareness drive

Doha: The Ministry of Public Health in collaboration with Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC), Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC), Sidra Medicine, and Naufar has launched a mental health awareness campaign under the theme ‘Are you OK?’ aimed at encouraging people to talk more openly about their emotional wellbeing. 

“In today’s busy world it is easy to become overwhelmed with the pressures of daily life. Everyone experiences feelings of stress, anxiety, and sadness at times throughout their lives and these feelings usually pass quickly. But for some people, these feelings persist and negatively impact their mental health and emotional wellbeing,” said Chair of the National Taskforce for Mental Health and Wellbeing and Chief of the Continuing Care Group at HMC, Mahmoud Al Raisi.

“But one of the main challenges for people who experience psychological distress is seeking help because of the stigma associated with it. This stigma often makes it difficult for people experiencing mental health symptoms to talk openly and to seek help. 

"This is why we have launched a national campaign to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing and to reduce the stigma. The campaign is being run under the theme “Are you OK?’, and aims to encourage you to ask this simple question to people who you believe may be experiencing stress or anxiety,” said Al Raisi. 

 

The campaign is being launched as countries around the globe have been holding activities to mark World Mental Health Day. In Qatar, many prominent landmarks were lit up in green on October 10 to highlight this important day. Green symbolises the continued awareness of mental health in order to help fight the stigma that is often associated it.

Deputy National Lead for Mental Health and Wellbeing and Executive Director of Operations at PHCC, Dr. Samya Ahmad Al Abdulla, said that this year has been a particularly challenging time for many people due to the impact of COVID-19. 

“COVID-19 has changed many aspects the way we live our normal lives and has affected many people’s emotional health as well as their physical health. So it is now more important than ever that people feel comfortable talking openly about feelings of stress, anxiety, and sadness. By asking ‘Are you OK?’, and asking in the right way, you can help to start a conversation with someone who may be finding it difficult to speak openly about their struggles,” said Dr. Samya. 

Chair of the Mental Health Service at HMC, Dr. Majid Al Abdulla, said that experiencing feelings of stress, anxiety and sadness is common and not something that we should be ashamed of. 
He said: “It is important that people are aware that many of us will experience these feelings at some point in our lives. We all need to play our part in creating an environment where mental health is talked about as openly as physical health. Simply talking about your feelings can help relieve the pressure and begin the road to recovery. So, throughout October, let’s all make an extra effort to look out for people who may be struggling with emotional distress, and ask them ‘Are you OK?’”

National Lead for Mental Health and Wellbeing and CEO of the Mental Health Service at HMC, Iain Tulley, said that the campaign was a prime example of collaboration across the healthcare system. 

“We have a comprehensive range of mental health services delivered across the healthcare system in Qatar and I am delighted that this campaign has brought together the main healthcare providers working together to raise public awareness,” said Tulley.

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