Qatar marks World Mental Health Day with children’s race

An NGO in Qatar organises a race for children and other activities to create awareness about mental health.

DOHA, QATAR (OCTOBER 10, 2015) (REUTERS) – Children and adults in the Qatari capital Doha gathered on Saturday (October 10) to mark the World Mental Heath Day.

The event was organised by Mental Health Friends Organisation ‘Weyak’ in an effort to raise public awareness about the importance of mental health.

Mohammed al-Benali, the executive director of organisation, said there are many misconceptions about the subject in the Arab world.

“We do this to promote the concept of mental health, which unfortunately is misunderstood in the Arab world. When you speak of mental health people think of mental illness and mentally retarded or crazy people. On the contrary, mental health deals with the majority of people who have no mental illness, in order to protect them from going down that path,” Benali said.

But some visitors like Hassan Youssif, who attended the event with his family, said things were changing.

“I think people have started to understand what mental health is. They started to ask and questions are beginning to knowledge,” Youssif said.

Another man Ossama Eid said he tries to raise his children thinking about the importance of their mental health.

“Psychology is an important aspect in our lives. As parents we implement psychological concepts as we raise our kids, even though we sometimes do so unconsciously,” Eid said.

The day-long event included included a race for children, various competitions, and arts and crafts activities.

The event is being held for the second consecutive year in Qatar.

This year, the celebration was held under the slogan: “Dignity for recipients of psychological treatment” in an effort to fight the stigma attached to mental health problems.

The World Health Organisation designated October 10 as the World Mental Health Day to raise awareness.