From October 18–27, YES alumni Yahya Ashour and Tala Shurrab, who are both psychology and sociology graduates, implemented their project “Beyond the Visible,” a mental health awareness online workshop. The alumni trained 44 participants; five of them were YES alumni. The participants met with Yahya and Tala in three sessions. Each session lasted for two hours, with a Q&A segment at the end.
In the first session, Yahya and Tala discussed various topics with the participants, including the basics of mental health, mental health disorders, psychiatry, and psychology. They also spoke about the importance of mental health, the right time for seeking support, and interacting with people suffering from mental health issues. Additionally, Yahya and Tala addressed misconceptions and social stigma related to mental health.
In the second session, Yahya and Tala took turns discussing topics like mood and stress management, and other themes like loneliness and vulnerability.
For the third session, Tala and Yahya asked the participants to type three emotions that they felt throughout the week to create a word cloud. The goal was to let the participants see how common their feelings were. Finally, Yahya and Tala had the participants write down what they were grateful for and what they would like to change in their lives.
Each session ended with a Q&A segment that allowed participants to ask Tala and Yahya about topics related to mental health. The Q&A segment in the last session focused on how to adjust to life in Gaza.
As the workshop came to an end, participants provided their feedback. One participant wanted to create a club for mental health, and many participants agreed to do the same in their communities. Another participant said that she learned how to be more grateful, think more positively and have more agency over her life. Another participant expressed how she has prepared a variety of questions before the start of the sessions, and how surprised she was when they were all answered by the facilitators of the workshop.
Our YES alumni always seek to help their communities gain access to new information that will help them live happy and healthy lives!
Yahya Ashour (YES 2014-2015, Gaza, placed with YFU in Fostoria, OH)
Tala Shurrab (YES 2014–2015, Gaza, placed with PAX in Richland, MO)
Read about Tala's goals in mental health education here!