Mental health forum begins

Muscat, Sept 17 – The first Arab Forum for Women and Psychological Shifts in the Media began on Sunday.
Presided over by Dr Madeeha bint Ahmed al Shaibaniyah, Minister of Education, the forum was attended by top officials from the media, education, social and health fields.
Themed ‘Be Conscious of your Psychological Health’, the event will run until September 19 at the Oman Exhibition and conferences Centre, Seeb. It is sponsored by the Ministry of Information (MoI) and organised by the Arabian Gate Expo (AGE). The Oman Establishment for Press, Publication and Advertising (OEPPA), publishers of Oman Daily Observer and its sister Arabic daily, Oman Daily, is the media sponsor of the event.
The forum aims at “changing the typical thinking” of the public towards psychological health.
It looks at establishing a database for cooperation in exchanging experiences and initiatives related to women’s health as well as spreading awareness about possible mental diseases that can affect women.
It will comprise five sessions, workshops and an exhibition for female entrepreneurs where they can showcase their businesses.
In her speech, Sayyida Basma al Said, the founder of Whispers of Serenity Clinic for Mental Health, asked women “not to surrender to social frustrations, but fight and be strong so that you can move forward inalienably”.
Awatif al Thanian, Chairman of Women’s Commission for Development and Peace in the Middle East, said: “Studies show that mental diseases prevent individuals from playing a positive role in the development process, which affects economies, both in developed or developing countries.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), half of the world’s population suffers from behavioural disorders that affect their self-esteem and their communication with others.
This, said Al Thanian, has urged psychiatrists, social workers and politicians to dig deeper into the issue and search for solutions.
Al Thanian said the forum focuses on women and mental diseases that could affect them and lead to depression and suicide.
The first day of discussions focused on psychological health, its concept and features and caring for psychological health from childhood.

Zainab al Nassri

— Pictures by Khalfan al Tobi