‘Not Alone’ convoy discusses stress, bullying and mental health in Oman
December 24, 2016 | 10:34 PM
by Deeba Hasan/ [email protected]

Muscat: Participants in the Whispers of Serenity’s first ‘Not Alone’ convoy discussed bullying, stress and mental health first aid at the Omani Women’s Association in Seeb recently.

Schoolgirls, women from the neighbourhood and members of the Omani Women’s Association (OWA) in Seeb participated in the sessions that discussed a range of issues concerning mental health.

“The aim of this convoy is to reach those who can’t otherwise come to us for therapy and counselling. There is still so much stigma attached to this issue and it is hard for people to even acknowledge that they may be struggling with certain areas in their life,” said Her Highness Sayyida Basma Al Said, mental health expert and Owner and Founder of the Whispers of Serenity Clinic.

The panel was headed by Her Highness Sayyida Basma, and Her Highness Her Highness Dr. Sayyida Taghreed Al Said from the Sultan Qaboos University’s Department of Education and founder of ‘My Book and Me’.

“Our kick off convoy for ‘Not Alone’ was really nice. The topics were very interesting, and we talked about bullying in case of children, stress in case of kids, about ‘Psychological and mental health first aid for all,’ the theme set by the World Health Organisation for this year.

“The panel had experts from different fields who made it all the more valuable, but I must say I would have liked it if there was more participation from males. We are looking forward to the rest of the convoys to have that kind of participation. “Our volunteers played a huge role in organising things. They are also learning a lot and we hope that our next stop at Musandam turns out to be as successful or even better with more male participation.

“The participants asked a lot about bullying, dealing with envy, ways to be positive, dealing with teachers who they feel are bullying their children, dealing with anxiety and depression. We talked about creating a mental health first aid box, which is something we started speaking of only recently.”

Fatma, who heads the medical committee at the OWA in Seeb, was appreciative of the awareness sessions, and hailed the role of the clinic and the volunteers in trying to spread awareness about mental health issues.

“I think it was a wonderful session. We did have some serious discussions on things which bother us and this was an open platform for such talks.

“We also received the right kind of advice from the panellists. We will now try and do our part by coordinating with local women and clinics for treating cases of mental health.”

All the participants, including the school children, were made to fill out a form which will help bring out any mental health issue they might be facing.

Badriya Al Owaisi, a senior member at the OWA Seeb, said she was very satisfied about the open discussions and would like to see more such events happening in the country. “We learnt about dealing with bullying in school. Now we can go to our children and speak to them about these issues and ways to overcome them.”

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