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Leading local and foreign experts at the mental health awareness conference.
‘End discrimination against mentally diseased people’ Experts gather to mark World Mental Health Day

KUWAIT CITY, Oct 11: Standing for Psychological Education and Awareness in Kuwait (SPEAK), an awareness campaign led by Alaa and Dalal Al Homaizi launched a two day conference to mark the World Mental Health Day featuring doctors and leading experts from Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School along with Kuwaiti mental health professionals on Oct 10-11 at the Salwa Al Sabah Hall.
The event, hosted in collaboration with the Kuwait Mental Health Center, and the Ministry of Health, targeted both professionals and the public in order to increase awareness and support health providers in their efforts to address an area of great importance to Kuwait through a series of informative and interactive bilingual talks addressed important mental issues.

Built around the principles of recognizing and realizing, the first day of the conference highlighted the gravity of mental diseases by pointing out that one in every four persons suffers from a diagnosable mental health disease at some point in their life and the stigma which puts those suffering in a double bind. John Herman, from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, USA discussed why stress matters.

Day two of the conference includes a session by Dr. Naif Al Mutawa entitled, “Your Role: Being there for a person with Mental Health problems” and well as talks by Dr. Christina Borbo and Dr. Asha Parekh on Women’s mental health and children’s mental health respectively concluding with a Ask the Experts panel take questions from the audience.

“We want to give a voice to the neglected topic of mental health, to promote awareness of the field of mental health and everything it offers, and to end the discrimination against people with mental illnesses” said Dalal Al Homaizi.

SPEAK aims to reduce stigma against mental illnesses and make the people aware of the various treatments available while promoting equality and respect for individuals suffering from mental health issues. It also seeks to combat fear of societal judgment that prevents people from seeking proper treatment. Alaa and Dalal Al Homaizi say they stand for the unheard voices of people suffering from mental illnesses.

“When we first decided to enter the field of psychology we received some negative reactions, such as people saying it is a waste of time, that we would be ‘crazy like patients’ and that this was not a field worth majoring in,” said Alaa Al Homaizi, “we want to show people the truth about psychology and how it can help.”

World Mental Health Day 2012 is sponsored by Dasman Diabetics Institute, Bayan Dental Clinic, Afrah Travel Agency, Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences, Wataniya Telecom, Humbah, Masharee Al-Khair Charity Organization, Taiba Hospital, Ibis Hotel, Al-Watan Newspaper, Al-Rai Newspaper, Qabas Newspaper, Al-Kuwaitiya Newspaper, Cinescape, Loyac, and El Gayla show on 103.7 FM.


By: Cinatra Fernandes Arab Times Staff

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