Greater awareness on mental health needed in Oman, say experts

Oman Sunday 09/October/2016 21:13 PM
By: Times News Service
Greater awareness on mental health needed in Oman, say experts

Muscat: More initiatives need to be undertaken in Oman if better awareness about mental health is to be ensured, experts say.
Observed annually on October 10, the World Mental Health Day theme for this year is ‘Psychological First Aid.’
As per the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) website, “Efforts in support of the day will focus on basic pragmatic psychological support by people who find themselves in a helping role, whether they are health staff, teachers, firemen, community workers or police officers.”
According to Her Highness Sayyida Basma Al Said, owner and founder of the Whispers of Serenity Clinic, which deals with stress, depression and other issues linked to mental health, “It is really important to have a mental health awareness day. Mental health affects people every day and it’s always good for others to remember those who have suffered and understand it.
“Having these special days doesn’t mean other days are not important to raise the issue, but this is only for us professionals who are trying to remind people what they may tend to overlook.”
Dr. Gerald D’Costa, a psychiatrist at the Badr Al Samaa Hospital,said the importance of mental health should not be underestimated.
“I think the importance of mental health cannot be underestimated because there is no doubt that, together with physical health, mental health forms a vital part of the development of a human being, and also aids in improving the quality of life.”
“I would say there is definitely a need for more initiatives, especially in terms of education and enhancing awareness of people,” he added. Whispers of Serenity is carrying out a few initiatives to mark the day, including a women’s retreat on October 27, a grand event on October 15 and a surprise nationwide initiative in the month of November.
“We have a surprise venture this year which we will launch together with the National Day in November. It’s called the Not Alone convoy. We are also organising our women’s retreat in the last week of October and this year we are heading to Jabal Akhdar, where we will draw the link between tourism and mental health.
“Our focus is on women, because if women are doing great, then there is balance and stability at home and at work. We are also into our sixth year, and so we have kept a big event on October 15 to mark the sixth anniversary, the Omani women’s day and the mental health day.
Whispers isalso involved in art therapy for stress and depression and the slogan for this month is, ‘A balanced woman, mentally and physically,creates a balanced environment.’