Zayed University Indorses the Importance of Mental Health

27 Oct 2020

Zayed University raised awareness about the importance of mental health through a series of virtual activities and workshops titled “Your Mental Health Matters” coinciding with the World Mental Health Day 2020, under the theme “Mental Health for All: Greater Investment – Greater Access.”

The virtual event that extended over the entire week, was organized by the  Student Counseling Center- Student Affairs Deanship at Zayed university. Hosting a number of internal and external partners such as: The Psychology Department of the College of Natural and Health Sciences at ZU, the Community Development Authority of Dubai, Dubai Foundation for Women and Children, Erada Rehabilitation Center and more.

Some of the guest speakers included Dr. Ammar Albanna, Head of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Center of Excellence,  Dr. Sandra Willis, Affiliate Scholar in Global Mental Health Lab, at Columbia University  and Khawla Hammad, ZU Alumni, Founder and CEO of Takalam. The Mental Health Online platform discussed topics around mental health, strategies and policies, mental health initiatives, and shared their experiences in the field of mental health.

The annual Mental Health Day Event aims to raise awareness on different topics around mental health, attempting to reduce the stigma associated with mental health and to increase the help-seeking behavior within our community.

Dr. Hind Alrustamani - Assistant Provost for Student Affair ZU said: “Mental health is just as important as our physical health and plays a crucial role in maintaining the overall wellbeing of an individual. As a matter of fact, studies show that when people struggle with significant mental health challenges, they are at higher risk of having physical problems. Furthermore, mental health concerns affect our ability to participate in the demands of daily life and thrive towards our personal ambitions. And yet, it's easy to take mental health for granted in ourselves and in others.

At Zayed University Student Counseling Center, we are responsible for educating our students about the importance of mental health to enable our community to eliminate the stigma and negative societal perceptions. We aim to increase the awareness of University community’s towards mental health stigma and encourage our students to seek help and support especially when they are going through challenges transitioning from school to university life. It is important for our students to feel supported to express their worries and seek help to manage their anxiety and stress.

She added: “We organize several workshops and events on student well-being and awareness around mental health. We have specifically noticed an increase of the demand on counselling services during the COVID -19 lockdown from both students and staff. This event is an illustration of our role and commitment towards our community to provide support and meet the needs of the community in moments of despair.”

The event has raised many topics including the effects of Covid19 on the brain and Socio-Cultural Impact on Mental Health. During the event, there were also insightful sessions on the challenges faced by male constituents of society and encouraged them to speak up through a session titled “Men are Suffering too”.

The audience also had the chance to participate in an interactive Art Therapy workshop. In this workshop, attendees’ experimented externalizing their anxiety in safe and gentle manner through art media, as externalizing and visualizing our anxiety is a key to manage our well-being.