Mental Health Newsletter - Issue number 12

Published in Arabic by the Mental Health Program at the Arab Resource Collective, ARC. Supported by the Norwegian Council for Mental Health, NCMH.

Mental Health Newsletter - Issue number 12 (Arabic Full Issue)

Summary of the contents:



  1. TV drama and Mental Health:

The Egyptian National Council for Mental Health expressed in a media statement, its "extreme annoyance by how much misinformation about psychiatry was presented in Egyptian TV drama nowadays.

2- The Palestinian Counseling Center (PCC) organized activities on Mental Health on its 30th anniversary. The celebrations cover a range of activities including:

- A seminar entitled "Thirty years of counseling, treatment and psychological supervision"

- A presentation on the evolution of the concept and vision of the Holistic and Positive Approach to mental health which the Centre adopts and promotes since the eighties.

  1. Seriously?”

This is the title of a play developed and performed by a group of both mental health inmates and mental health workers and artists, at one of the main psychiatric institutions in Lebanon. The project was initiated by the Lebanese Center for Art Therapy “Catahrcis”, founded in 2007. The performance was widely covered and reviewed by the media.

  1. “Will it see the light?”: Lebanese organizations backed by human rights lawyers are undertaking another attempt to change the legislations on personal drug abuse and addiction. The new draft focuses on replacing punishment with therapy, revisiting the relevant laws and institutional frameworks changing the penalties and ensuring confidentiality of abusers and preventing stigma and facilitating social reintegration.



  • World Mental Health Day 2013: Mental health and older adults.

  • To celebrate the day, a conference on “Mental Health in Palestine: "Community Mental Health -Reality and perceptions" was organized by the " Najah National University in Nablus, in partnership with the UN Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA). It aimed at outlining the reality of community mental health in the Palestinian society, looking at the ‘pioneering role’ played by the relevant organizations in the field and assessing challenges and needs.

  • The WHO ‘Mental Health Action Plan 2013 – 2020’: The action plan builds on the essential role played by mental health in achieving health for all people. It aims at achieving equity through universal health coverage and stresses the importance of prevention.

  • Mental Health and older people: A resource. Contents include concerns of older people, wellbeing, a guide to common problems, interventions and caregivers.


  • Mental health: awareness raising or increasing the misunderstanding?

Interest in mental health in the Arab World is on the increase. Concepts and language are changing. The media dedicates wider coverage. Promoting mental health is about improving the quality of life, creating supportive community-based systems and fighting discrimination and stigma. However, mental health promotion is very complex and thus it requires new ways of thinking and innovative approaches. (Specialist Ola Ataya examines two public awareness raising campaigns.)


  • How we treat the mental disorder in Lebanon!

In this article, author and lawyer Hala Kirbaj, highlights the problems and contradictions of the mental health care system in Lebanon. She reviews legislations related to the psychiatric system, and its variations between the public and the private sectors, as well as the factors that influence the mental health policies in Lebanon.


New Resources:

  1. Dr. Mustafa Hijazi, “Adolescence! Those Exciting Years! - how do parents and adolescents understand changes and expectations” (In Arabic). Arab Resource Collective. Beirut, 2013.

Dr. Hijazi is a leading academic and training figure in the field of educational psychology. He developed this resource in response to the need for a resource that could help both parents and adolescents (and thus mental health and education carers) in coping with the changes that impact the development of attitudes and behavior during those ‘exciting’ years. The chapters cover the following aspects:: what is adolescence; physical and sexual growth; mental and cognitive development; emotional and social growth; study and preparing for future; building effective identity and transition to youth and adulthood.


  1. Ideas for working with people - an approach to training and learning for workers in communities. Book 4. (In Arabic). An adaptation and update of the original “Training for Transformation”, part IV, by Anne Hope and Sally Timmel. Adapted and edited by Ghanem Bibi.

Contents include 5 chapters on: Environment, Gender and Development, Discrimination and Racism, Culture and Governance. Books 1-3 were published in Arabic by ARC. They are considered to be essential working tools for activists and community workers and all involved in developing visions, critical awareness, leadership and participation, empowerment and implementation. Book 4 introduces 5 essential topics that enrich community based programmes and provide updated and ready to use background material and exercises. Issues of gender, discrimination, diversity in cultures and governance are very timely additions to the knowledge and tools requested by increasing numbers of people involved in developing holistic health, education and other aspects of social change.


Special coverage (2): Violence, refugees and psychosocial work

The previous issue of this newsletter dealt with the impact of violent developments taking place in different Arab societies and how impacts the lives of hundreds of thousands of refugees and displaced people. This issue contributes more additional material that covers the following aspects:

  1. Guiding principles on psychosocial work during emergencies :

Lessons learned and recommendations arising from practical experience in psychosocial work during emergencies. By Ola Ataya.

  1. How children deal with death and grief!

The author explains how younger children deal with death and grief through the different age groups. It also provides recommendations and guidelines on how we, as adult parents or relatives, should approach the concept of death in front of and with our children, and how to deal with their grieving process. Adapted from a paper by Nabila Espanioly.

  1. Syrian girls escaping from poverty and the “monster” of rape”.

This report contributes additional information on the phenomenon of "early marriages" among the Syrian girls, an issue which sheds light on the increasing impact of very conservative approaches among rebel groups in Syria and elsewhere and how women are made among the main victims.

  1. Syrian refugees in Lebanon: problems and recommendations”.

Information from participants in a round table discussion organized in Beirut by «The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies». A contribution to a hot debate among political parties, each trying to manipulate the figure and ‘facts’.

  1. Psychosocial support for children in crisis and emergencies.

A new resource for workers with refugee and displaced children. Content include: children in crises and emergencies, the psycho-social development of children, commutating with children, supporting parents in crises and emergencies and supporting children with trauma.


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