Leyla Humed Mohammed-Egypt

  • September 26, 2020 at 3:24 am #2877
    Daniel Ochieng
    Keymaster

    All people around the world has mental health and it is just as important as physical health but we youth always has lack of awareness and always hard to normalize mental health as physical health. As being said, it all includes our Emotional, Psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act. It’s not only about mental illness or mental disorders but we youth think about it in such way. It’s best to think about mental health as being on a continuum, which we can define as our life Journey. We all are in a continuum and we move up and down according to facts such as our genetic make- up and upbringing. Our life circumstances and the stress that we are under on the bottom of the continuum which I mean problems and challenges bring us down as such we have mental disorders, depression or anxiety. And on the other end or on top, we have states of Positive mental health with thriving, content. The question is how we bring people up to the continuum in order to reach their full potential and this is the aim of mental health Intervention. This makes me feel encouraged in dealing with mental health challenges that makes me and other youth are facing and focus on how to overcome those challenges giving more attention and effort.
    I know a person who has experienced mental health challenges since she was a teenager until this time. It all started by not loving herself as always hated her physical appearance. She was so skinny that she getting bullied at school, neglected and laughed at. She slowly begun to get used at the situation and accept she was and how she looks. Problems continued to happen in her life, begun to lose the people she love which caused the rest of her family to have financial scarcity and was made to live school. Time came which made her mad her family leave the country and is living her life as a refugee until now. The problem was not being refugee but living in developing country which refugee can’t get enough access of schools, find Job, Have more financial crises . Even though she got a Job, she was not happy with her life as she thought she was losing time which had to learn , finish high school and go to college and complete university, she compares herself with her peers who are in other countries fulfilling their dreams which social media played a great role to worsen it, she is not happy with her life and continues to suffer from depression, she is not happy with her social life and not having real friends and feeling lonely makes her suffer from mental health challenges until now.

    Of course mental health management is necessary in a society because we are in a time that many people especially youth are suffering from mental health challenges due to different reasons. If this is not given priority to do plans and actions to manage it, it could be worse and affect many countries economically. We can mention some signs and symptoms.
    Extreme mood swings
    Worry and anxiety became more frequent and have got out of control signs of anxiety can be; Encomia, unexplained head aches and pains, being easily irritated.
    Isolating your self
    Schizophrenia schizoaffective disorder
    Having more difficulty dealing with more life situation
    Sleeping too much or too little
    Start abusing drugs or alcohol
    Extreme anger outburst
    Start thinking of self-harm and suicide
    Most symptoms are common in communities because many people in the community experience those kinds of signs and they are worldwide mental health and symptoms at the same time.
    This is false; Of course it affects developing countries. It’s true that it’s more known in developed countries and this is due to using accurate statistics collect data of people who has mental health issue and lots of access to mental health care but this doesn’t mean developing countries doesn’t suffer from mental health challenges , they suffer a lot and more than the developed countries due to many reasons however, mental health management is not taken seriously due to not having awareness of mental health challenge as a result the countries doesn’t have accurate statistics to have data of people with mental health issues in order to take actions to manage it.
    For example: In Egypt mental health disorders remain stigma as a result , the country doesn’t have accurate statistics in issues like suicide rates that are cause for mental health issues unless the government and individuals have begun creating awareness on a digital platforms hoping to lead beneficial information for people coping with mental issues. Egypt doesn’t have organizations focusing on that. Experts believe that spreading an acceptance culture of mental health on Egypt will significantly help people with suicidal thoughts. The national Mental Health secretariat in Egypt has established to a Hotline to help people who have suicidal thoughts also has been leading Mental Health awareness campaigns about mental Health diseases. If management is not taken place in a country mental health problems and suicidal thoughts actions will increase.

    The main reason for mental health issues among youth in least developed countries can be poor housing, Inadequate water, and sanitation, unemployment, migration, Inequality, violence , food insecurity, can be mentioned more. Most of the people who have those problems suffer from measure depression.
    The same implies to the developing countries which civil war, excess use of social media (in some countries), corruption can be additionally mentioned. Comparing with least developed countries, in developing countries, those issues are less severe because the countries can use some measurement to collect data and accordingly try to manage. Whereas in least developed, mental health disorders remain stigma, as a result doesn’t have accurate data, nor have services to cope with mental health issues and depend on external services.
    Comparing with most developed countries, developing countries has more mental health issues but due to low Data collection , there isn’t accurate statistics because people lack awareness about mental health and Governments does have much services of mental health and that’s the reason it seems more in developed countries.

    This is definitely true. Researchers suggest that young people who spend more than two hours per day on social media are more likely to report poor mental health including Psychological distress (Symptoms of Anxiety and depression) and poor sleep which are caused due to addiction. Continuous lack of sleep also affects your daily life performance and productivity. When we repeatedly prioritize this instant gratification and addictive dopamine rush giving APPS over our long term goals which require work, we come up with something called procrastination, this is when you waste your time checking on your cell phone and finish your tasks or Job on a rush the day before the deadline is about to come. Most of the time, procrastination is filed by the fact that we are addicted to our devises. Therefore the more we are addicted to social media the less we get enough sleep and suffers from anxiety and depression and the less productive we be. And community leader are not taking actions so far to solve the problems

    Yes there is mental health care for youth in my country Eritrea, but they are few, less than enough and are located in Capital City only. Less number of youth seek the help of mental health care and the offices assist them and direct them to Psychologists or Psychiatrists according to their need. This is because the people, especially the youth has less awareness about mental health issues and they remain stigma as a result people especially youth doesn’t seek assistance at early stage of mental issue when they see signs and symptoms or doesn’t seek at all.

    As I already mentioned, in our Eritrean society, we feel some type of shame around mental health and there is a lot of fear around it. a lot of people still equate mental health issues with going crazy for the lack of better expression and that’s the main problem around it, is that we don’t except mental health as any type of health issue that has to do with our body so we separate mental health from general health but really should be one in the same. it is the stigma, it’s like what will other people say or what will they thinks about me?, due to that very few people access mental health services as a result, government is not taking much account for mental health management because the less people seek mental health care, the less mental health management will be though people have mental health issue.

    As youth I would start to first give awareness to first give awareness to the society. We would first work to normalize how we view, how we mobilize ourselves around mental health. We have to normalize it by taking about it, we need to start having some of those difficult conversations and the place to start is within our circles. Talk about it with our friends, siblings, family, boyfriends, husbands, work colleagues…etc. it doesn’t have to be in open form but in those spaces where we have trust and relationships we can start being more vulnerable. We have to start somewhere and have to talk about it and start being confortable in using words like anxiety and depression. Because in our traditional cultures we have a big fear around those using those words, even ii our native languages, we don’t have lots of words to describe mental health and that’s as well a big problem. We have to increase the terminology around mental health and take a step forwards to start collect data of people with mental health issue and advocate to seek for changes by having enough mental health care which are accessible to all people living in the country

    Unfortunately I can’t think of a role model in my life who was battling with mental health now but this is interesting questions and I will start to search and read about people who was battling with Mental Health and learn lessons from their experience.

    MENTAL HEALTH PANEL DISCUSSION

    As my Panelist is youth who work as teacher assistants and caseworkers, they have close relations with teenagers and youth and know different youth who has different mental health issues. One of them mentioned that she had a client who hasn’t been honest with her. She (Her caseworker) tried so hard to build trust with her in order to know how she can better assist her, the teenager loves her caseworker but didn’t trust her enough to open up conversations to inform her problems and always give her false information. She shows extreme mood swings and anger, shows various behaviors and is sensitive. The good thing is that she is able to express herself and her needs well. She insisted a lot by herself to meet to meet Psychiatrist though she didn’t tell the reason why she already knew that only Psychiatrists is the one who would make her feel better. She met Psychiatrist and was diagnosed with personality disorder. She receives Medication and ongoing counseling support now. She mentioned that she feels better now and showed some changes, started to sleep and eat well, take care of herself and exercise. What we all learned from this is Trust is the most important thing in order youth or any people try to inform a person talk about something they feel vulnerable of. From everyone’s experience, all youth especially refugee youth from developing countries, lack awareness of mental health. Although they have symptoms, inability to express themselves and feelings shame to talk about it, they prefers to be silent which can worsen their mental health condition. We all agreed to focus and give awareness to our clients and students about mental health and give advices and encourage our clients to speak about it with the people they are comfortable with and us to keep an eye on them to refer them to mental health care before it’s too late. Mental health sessions are already discussed in Psycho-Aid classes to students to make them have the awareness and spread the knowledge to their friends and communities.

    Three of the Panelist where not from my country except two of them. The two agreed that it’s hard to list mental health issues among youth in my country because there isn’t a space or Capacity to address their problems and the youth as we said don’t express themselves. Due to war starting 1960’s until early 2000, Eritrea was in War as such the Eritrean youth has been facing Generation Trauma .The new Generation who were born after war or whose age are below 30, they also face different problems by the regime and be forced to Join Military services before the age of 18 as a result, Migration became the only Option for them to seek for change. Many lost their lives when crossing the border, many died in Libya drawn in Sea, and thousands are in different Arab countries, Europe, America, Australia and Canada. Some are committing suicide when they reach Europe due to the Trauma they face in their home country, crossing the border and countries to reach their destination but survive Trafficking and torture. Generally we can say that almost all youth in my country have mental health issue such as sleeping and eating disorder, anger, depression and Anxiety can be mentioned.

    All Panelists think that youth doesn’t have equal and enough mental health care services in their home countries. As I already mentioned youth don’t have enough awareness about Mental Health to access the services and most doesn’t know where the health care are located. They lack to express themselves and don’t realize the signs and symptoms of Mental Health issues. On top of that there aren’t enough mental health care Centers as well as Psychologists and Psychiatrists and are all located in the Capital City so is people want assistance, they would travel long distance. In Eritrea there is about nine languages so there would be language barrier to communicate with the Psychologists and Psychiatrists as they are few.

    Of course youth should find their own way to overcome Mental health challenges rather than depending on external services but first we have to figure out what are the reasons that lead youth to suffer from mental health issues for example in developed countries, we mentioned that social Media is the main reason for mental health issue and lots of services are offered to manage but in developing countries, unemployment, Financial problems , violence , corruption, Inequality…etc. are the main reasons not only social Media so in order youth not to suffer health issues due to those problems, we have to think to change the situation or how to better solve it. Of course Government should play a great role in changing the situation. All youth should be aware of mental Health just like other health issues in our body. We have to work to let youth start about it to normalize it whether with a friend or anyone and bit by bit, encourage to have a group peer talk and together arrange plans and actions how to better solve problems instead of rushing to psychiatrists.

    They all loved the Idea because all of them agreed that youth lack awareness about Mental Health. As a kectil colleague the first thing I would do together with my youth colleagues would be to raise awareness about Mental Health and encourage accessing Mental Health services. As refugees in this country, there are organizations that provide mental health services but they are few and they give priority to the emergency cases first. There should be enough Psychologists which provides Psychotherapy in communities but before directing youth to services , we have to create platforms for youth refugees or arrange meeting in Communities to have a peer talk and discuss what are the main reasons which lead us to have mental Health issues. Of course in Egypt, Language barrier to communicate, unemployment, lack of education, social media would be the main reasons to lead to those problems and we would try to work hard to solve the problems and seek help from Organizations which help refugees if needed to solve those problems.

    Panelist in general Idea mentioned that since all the people especially Youth in most part of the world doesn’t have enough awareness about Mental Health, Governments in countries hasn’t accomplished the Actions which where planed by the World Health Organizations to spread it among people and communities. So agreed that there hasn’t been made any successful changes about Mental Health since that time.

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