YES Programs



A Culture of Wellbeing

A group of alumni in two rows

On December 27, YES alumni in Bahrain organized a mental health workshop in Hamala. Rusol Allawi ‘14 led the sessions for the 11 alumni attendees, drawing on her background in psychology. Rusol has a bachelor's in psychology from the American University in Cairo and specializes in group counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Alumni sitting in a circle of couches

The interactive sessions equipped participants with skills to reframe negative thoughts, cope with cognitive distortions, challenge self-talk, and build personal resilience. Rusol also facilitated a peer support discussion for participants to share their mental health struggles. The two components of the workshop allowed alumni to gain actionable wellbeing skills and connect about their lived experiences – a crucial blend for destigmatization and building constructive coping skills.

The alumni were inspired to organize this event to reduce stigma around mental health issues. Many YES alumni grapple with re-adjustment challenges and mental health struggles when they return from the program. The alumni organizers aimed to create a safe space to support alumni wellbeing.

Reem Ali ‘23 called the event an impactful learning experience. Overall, the event created an atmosphere of awareness and empowerment around wellbeing and mental health.

Rusol Allawi (YES 2013–2014, Bahrain, placed by AFS in Geneva, IL)

Reem Ali Hasan (YES 2022-2023, Bahrain, placed by PAX in Round Rock, TX)