Dhives Institute along with their sister establishment, the Institute for Counselling & Psychotherapy (ICP), Maldives, hosted a panel discussion of experts from the mental health field and educators at Dhives Institute on Tuesday.
The event was held in anticipation of World Mental Health Day, which falls on Wednesday 10, October. The topic for 2018 is ‘Young people and mental health in a changing world'.
As such, the academic discussion was set up as an invigorating and productive experience with the top minds in both fields coming together to discuss various problems faced by the youth population that may affect their mental health, and exchange ideas on how to combat these issues.
The panellists leading the discussion were Clinical Psychologist at ICP Vinod Kuma, Special Educator Aishath Looba, World Health Organization (WHO)’s Resident Representative Dr. Arvind Mathur, Consultant Psychiatrist at IGMH Dr. Arif Mohamed, Psychotherapist at Kulunu Clinic Musthafa Faroog and the Principal of Imaadudeen School Wafa Waheed.
The panel discussion revolved around the role young people play in society while discussing mental health challenges faced by youth today.
Panellists also delved into the importance of listening to young people and battling the stigma surrounding mental health, for a more inclusive community and to improve the already underfunded sector. They spoke envisioning in which the youth work together and build a society where all young people are aware of the issues surrounding mental health and believe that #MentalHealthMatters.
“While mental health is an important area in all our lives, the purpose of this discussion is to highlight how young adults are more vulnerable to the changing times” stated former Minister of Health and former Minister of Environment and Energy Dr. Mariyam Shakeela, a participant at the event.
“Imagine the stress of living in the current world, which is going through tremendous transitions where people are constantly struggling with all sorts of social and political conflicts, human rights violence in homes, schools and businesses.”
In similar vein, representing WHO in the Maldives, panellist Dr. Arvin reiterated the message that “There is no health without Mental Health”, stressing the importance of finding someone to share your problems and communicate with.
Having spent more than 3 decades working in the Education sector, Principal Wafa added that, in her experience, parents and caretakers often lack the understanding to help their children overcome their struggles.
She added that this may instead foster a reaction in which it represses the emotions of the child, only for said emotions to be bottled up and later erupt. Affirming the importance of having realistic expectations out of young adolescents, she encouraged the audience members to listen when young people express their emotions.
When queried about which mental disorder is most prevalent in the country, Dr Arif responded saying that severe cases of anxiety and depression disorder are quite common in the Maldives.
The psychiatrist stated that it is important to clarify between mental health problems and mental disorders. Furthermore, he pondered over possible issues concerning overdiagnosis and self-diagnosing.
ICP's in-house clinical psychologist Vinod, put the spotlight on the positivity of social media by acknowledging the availability of anonymous online therapy and online support groups, all the while addressing the negatives of the digital world.
On the other Vinod also mentioned that a lot of people seem to be 'addicted' to social media and that young people project their sense of self-based on the judgment they receive on the internet.
During the panel discussion, Kulunu Clinic's psychotherapist Musthafa, highlighted the lack of involvement of young people, when formulating policies that specifically target the youth population.
Former Care Society Program Director and expert in special education, psychologist Looba mentioned commonly used terminologies and labels surrounding mental health and how they have been integrated into our vocabulary and daily life, suggesting that this has contributed to people becoming desensitized to the prevalent issue.
Speaking about bullying, Looba stated that videos and photos of victims and perpetrators alike steered attention away from
The panel discussion, which took place between 8:00 pm to 10:30 pm, in addition to the answers given by the panellists, drew enthusiastic engagement from approximately 50 participants from various walks of life, that attended the event.
Dhives Institute is an academic institution in the Maldives that provides education in the field of social sciences.
ICP provides psychological services to individuals and establishments, to foster and build a healthy society through a service system that emphasizes trust, respect, confidentiality and compassion.
This World Mental Health Day on Ocotber 10th, ICP will provide free consultations for all.