On June 16, YES alumna Sarah Almzainy organized a two-hour session on mental health at Amideast/Gaza for 15 students from the English Access Microscholarship (Access) Program. The session was facilitated by Hind Alweheidi, leader of Trauma-Free Gaza. The initiative aims to raise awareness of teen mental health issues and break the stigma surrounding mental health disorders.
The session Sarah organized introduced the Access students to the topic of youth mental health and their role in raising awareness about mental health issues. The training touched on the concept of healing one’s inner child as an important approach to recovery from childhood traumas. There was also a collaborative activity to help the participants learn about specific disorders.
This was the first step toward an event series Sarah hopes to host to teach teenagers about psychology and how to better understand themselves. The goal is for participants to become lifelong learners about why we behave the way we do by providing an open and judgment-free discussion space.
The Trauma-Free event went smoothly and the participants expressed great interest in the topics. They were engaged, interacted with one another and the presenter, and requested a follow-on session to address other mental health topics. One of the attendees commented after the session, “I find it great that someone has taken the initiative of speaking up and discussing with others topics such as mental health disorders in our community.”
Sarah Almzainy (YES 2015-2016, Gaza, placed by AYA in Evansville, IN)