Prioritising and speaking openly about mental health is all the more important, particularly in the aftermath of the global pandemic of Covid-19, noted a psychological therapist at a forum organised by World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH), Qatar Foundation's (QF) global health initiative.
Nimo Omer, a psychological therapist at the Doha-based The International Medical Centre (IMC) said: “Creating an environment where people feel safe to do so is pivotal because when we do, it is easier to speak about concerns without fear, which in turn increases access to support. This is supported by strong evidence that clearly shows workplaces with higher levels of mental well-being are more productive - by as much as 12%.”
Omer was speaking at the first of three workshops that comprise a new series on ‘Cultivating Emotional Wellness’, developed specifically for all QF staff. The series is designed to raise awareness and promote psychological well-being, build resilience, and improve quality of life both in and out of the workplace.
The initial session focused on explaining and understanding the concept of emotional hygiene: being mindful of one’s psychological health and adopting simple daily habits to monitor and address psychological wounds.
Omer stressed the importance of adopting good emotional hygiene practices and said "we truly flourish psychologically once we understand and manage uncomfortable emotions using compassion, openness, and curiosity."
The workshop discussed many ways of cultivating emotional and psychological resilience to strengthen emotional agility.
“Acknowledging your inner experiences and connecting with your body in the moment is key when going through a difficult time. Just taking three minutes to do a deep breathing exercise can help to ground us so we can deal with a stressful situation, without letting negative emotions build up,” noted Omer.
Omer has extensive experience in treating trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She also works with individuals and couples with other emotional and behavioural challenges including depression, anxiety, phobias and eating disorders.
Sultana Afdhal, CEO, WISH, commented: “Whilst we celebrate that the prioritisation of mental health is continuing to gain global recognition, we’ve all seen the toll that the events of the last couple of years have taken on our collective well-being.
"At WISH, we have a strong focus on mental health research, and we wanted to extend this to make a positive impact on the wider QF team. As a community, we have a specific set of challenges and experiences, and so we wanted to provide a tailored programme that sought to address these for the benefit of our colleagues, and therefore our workplace.”
Taking place over the coming weeks, the second workshop will focus on building awareness and understanding of challenges faced by parents or individuals in a caring role. The third will look at how to build emotional and psychological well-being, manage stress and anxiety, support colleagues and build stronger relationships at work.