Addressing mental health issues with ‘Let’s Talk’ initiative

According to the World Health Organisation, around 450 million people all over the world are currently suffering from mental and neurological disorders. It also specified that one in four people suffers this disorder at some point in their lives.
Although some of these disorders are treatable, majority do not receive treatment because of stigma and discrimination.
In a report, WHO has said that, “Where there is no understanding, there is neglect.”
In order to address the stigma of mental health in the Sultanate, Whispers of Serenity Clinic, the first specialised mental wellness clinic in Oman, launches its new programme called ‘Lets Talk’ — a series of workshops that covers different issues about mental problems.
The idea of this programme came into fruition after understanding that mental illness touches everyone in some form directly or through a friend, family member or colleague.
The clinic proposes that by allowing people to listen to success stories — stories of people who experienced mental health issues and now are doing well — will challenge the stereotypes or the bias people have in mind.
Similar programmes have shown that most people with mental health issues can actually recover, simply by talking about it.
The first workshop of the series is titled ‘I am a bride’ and will discuss the stress and anxiety accompanied with wedding preparations in order to fulfil modern-day expectations, the fear associated with entering a new stage in your life, how to correctly approach your new family and other useful skills to mentally prepare yourself for your next journey.
The workshop will be delivered by Mental Health Consultant and Clinic Founder Sayidda Basma Al Said and will be split into two sessions: one held on Tuesday July 18 and another one on July 25, 2017.
A second workshop held on July 16 will focus more on teenagers who have recently graduated from high school and are preparing for their next academic challenge.
This workshop delivered by Child Learning and Development Specialist Nora Al Akhzami will help students improve communication skills, time management, choosing the right career path and addressing common issues of living alone and homesickness.

Silent crisis in the Middle East
In the last five years, many health experts and journalists referred to mental issues as the silent crisis in the Middle East.
Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of WHO, said that mental illness is not a personal failure but rather it’s the response that is failing.
WHO urges that more focused should be given on mental health. It further pointed out that it’s often the poor who ‘bear the greater burden of mental disorders’ since not only they lack access to treatment, they are also in constant exposure to severely stressful events and dangerous living conditions.
WHO also emphasises that treatments are available but acknowledgement is key to bringing about change.
To join the Whispers of Serenity clinic workshops or for more details, information can be accessed through their Instagram page ‘serenity muscat’.