Human and not cultural differences in mental health

MUSCAT, May 8 – When it comes to mental health human aspect is more important than the culture the person belongs to, says HH Sayyida Basma al Said, mental health expert and founder of Whispers of Serenity and Not Alone Campaign, as the world observes World Mental Health Month.
“This is what I have discovered by providing therapy over the years with different nationalities. Therapists cannot think culturally because in the end we keep going back to same issues and the same base. When we talk about mental health it deals with different people with a variety of feelings. One box cannot fit all of them. At the same time it includes different nationalities because at the end of the day we are all humans,” she added.
The month of May is World Mental Health Month which coincides with Ramadhan. The Whispers of Serenity is holding a Gratitude Challenge for 30 days and group Iftar to which people can register for in addition to Not Alone session with theme on living with stress.
Sayyida Basma al Said was chosen as the international keynote speaker to share the Not Alone Campaign experience at the fifth Annual Symposium for Community Mental Health Services in Qatar, which took place in April at the Sheraton Hotel in Doha. This year’s symposium highlighted the milestones achieved in implementing the Qatar National Mental Health Strategy — Changing Minds, Changing Lives 2013-2018. The keynote presentation focused on the efforts for mental health awareness in the Arabian Gulf Region.
“We were sharing our point of view on spreading awareness. The general public are not just into lectures and power points. The idea conveyed was that story telling was the strongest key towards spreading awareness. We all do not have to do the same techniques. The fact is that may be our techniques are getting out dated. Everything is changing very fast. The generation today want interaction. While statistics and numbers are very good with people who are in the field, but a stressed person who is sitting at home reading the newspaper do not want to read statistics,” says Sayyida Basma. The concept of ‘Not Alone’ was well received by the participants at the conference. “Our campaigns have the participation of mixed gender but we would like to see more male participation in our community work,” she adds.