Mental health is just as important as physical health. Maybe not everyone sees it that way, but having depressive thoughts, for instance, can prevent a person from getting out of bed to do something productive. Now as Egypt stands 3rd in the world’s top 10 unhappiest countries, I am sure that with better mental health service we would not have ended up here.
Here are 3 ways in which Egypt’s psychological health service is a mess:
1) Calling a psychiatric hospital “Mostashfet El Maganeen”
This term is widely used when referring to a mental hospital, which is completely ignorant, uncivil and can be quite offensive to people struggling with mental illnesses themselves. Just to make it clear, mentally ill people are not crazy. They can be suffering from a disorder like depression or anxiety which makes them “ill” not “crazy”. They are trying to get treatment, consequently, we definitely shouldn’t call them “maganeen”. You wouldn’t call a person battling cancer a “loser” because he has a disease. So, yeah, we should stop using that senseless term and just call it “mostashfa nafseya”
2) Psychiatrists Prioritize Medications
I am not against medication by any means but that does not make it okay for doctors to throw a prescription paper at you the moment you start talking about your feelings. A bunch of pills alone will not “fix” an emotionally distressed person. The main focus should be on the therapy sessions (where the patient actually gets to talk about his issues and find a solution for it) and the meds should just be used as an extra boost. I am no doctor, of course, but this makes more sense to me. And there are always some special cases so I am definitely not generalizing here.
3) No One Knows
In some countries, there is a day every year called Mental Health Awareness Day or Suicide Preventation Day where people spread positivity and knowledge. Here in Egypt, however, there is extreme ignorance about mental health. People lack the knowledge about mental disorders and how they can be helped. Thus, they freak out when someone admits they are seeing a therapist. One way this can be helped is through setting awareness campaigns that visit schools, universities, businesses, public places (or even on TV and social media) to give small talks about disorders and how they can be treated.
Mental illness is neither a trend nor something to be ashamed of. It’s serious and it’s life-threatning, learn about it; you might save someone’s life.