By Faten Omar
KUWAIT: Mental health is a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn and work well, and contribute to their community. Mental health is a basic human right, but some people often don’t get the mental health support they need because they don’t know where to start, or due to the high costs of therapists. Kuwait Times spoke with Mosaab Dhari, a Kuwaiti medical student who is interested in raising awareness about mental health and medical issues through his social media account ‘Medtalks’. Some excerpts:
Kuwait Times: What is Medtalks? When did you start it?
Dhari: Medtalks is a group of medical doctors, pharmacists and students that aim to bring you their shared experiences. They want to expand the horizon of interests shared by healthcare students worldwide.
Our vision: First, we believe that being a healthcare student is not strictly reserved for top students. One has to be a motivated person with a holistic vision, sense of reflection and a better understanding of others. Second, we would like, with your help, to connect medical students and give them a platform to express their interests. Finally, we firmly believe that mental health is as important as physical health.
KT: Why did you choose the mental health topic?
Dhari: Because I wish to break the stigma around mental health in the Middle East.
KT: What inspired you to launch this idea?
Dhari: In addition to my interest in psychology and self-development, I noticed that people who are diagnosed with depression or mental health problems suffer in silence, which made me feel there is a necessity to talk more about mental health.
KT: Did people react to the Medtalks account?
Dhari: Yes! They support us!
KT: What kind of awareness do you share?
Dhari: Mental/physical health and community healthcare.
KT: How many volunteer experts participated in Medtalks?
Dhari: We are more than 10 and we are happy for anyone else who is a medical practitioner/student to join us and be a member.
KT: How did they help people suffering from mental health issues?
Dhari: By normalizing mental health issues, which can affect anyone, and that it is okay to ask for help. Through our platforms, we have spread awareness about various mental disorders, chronic diseases and public health issues. Also, we have connected people to free psychotherapy sessions in cooperation with many volunteer therapists.
KT: Have you spread awareness somewhere else other than social media?
Dhari: Due to our recent start, we haven’t got the opportunity to do so yet, but we look forward to expanding our means of awareness as the Medtalks family grows.
KT: What is your next plan?
Dhari: The next steps we hope to achieve are launching a podcast and setting up social events.
KT: Your message to people with mental health conditions.
Dhari: I have a message for the people who know someone with a mental condition: Mental conditions appear in different forms. Just because someone suffers in silence doesn’t mean they aren’t suffering at all. Thus, check on your family and friends and give them the support they need. It is real. Believe them.