Mental health awareness rising in Bahrain
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Mental health can be considered a “taboo” subject, and those struggling tend not to reach out for help due to the stigma surrounding the subject. According to the latest United Nations (UN) data, nearly one billion people worldwide have a mental disorder.
The report notes that mental health struggles can be debilitating to many who suffer from a condition as it involves significant disturbances in thinking, emotional regulation, or behaviour.
Speaking to The Daily Tribune, Dr Mariam Alammadi, a licensed psychologist, said: “I have been working as a licensed psychologist in the Kingdom of Bahrain for more than a decade, both in governmental and private sectors.
“Over this time, I have seen an increase in individuals seeking the services of therapists in the region.” Psychology and mental health were considered taboo subjects worldwide, and this would prohibit individuals who need help from seeking assistance; as Dr Mariam said: “Psychology used to be a taboo subject and people were hesitant to discuss getting treatment with friends and loved ones.”
However, this is starting to change in the Kingdom. She highlighted that, for the most part, things have started to change, and now people are beginning to recognise that quality health is both physical and mental.
They are both correlated, and there is no way to separate them. Therefore, we must focus on our overall holistic health. Mental health disorders are a top cause of disability globally; there are still not enough measures for individuals struggling to receive help and assistance.
“In the Kingdom of Bahrain, we do not have enough psychologists and treatment centres; however, the Kingdom is working to advance this as there are now free treatment centres and helplines for people to reach out and seek help,” she said.
“I believe the best measure we could implement is starting in our schools. I would love to see a classroom module focusing on mental health in the same ways we implement and focus on classes such as PE (physical exercise classes).”
Communities that place stigma around mental health can put a heavier burden on those trying to seek assistance. Dr Mariam said: “There is a stigma around mental health generally by people who do not understand it. However, I believe it is changing, especially for the younger Bahraini generation.”
While speaking with The Daily Tribune, Dr Mariam questioned: “Why would we not check in with a professional individual to check our emotional well-being?” Within mental health, it is fundamental to recognise behaviour patterns and work to self-improve them. Most mental health problems are treatable and curable.
Dr Mariam said: “The suffering individuals should realize that they are loved, and there are people to help them. The first step is to open- up and tell someone about the need for help.” Lastly, she suggests that individuals suffering should consult a therapist or psychologist who will advise more options.