Webinar addresses ‘stigma’ attached to mental health issues

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Image Credit: Courtesy AUS

By Menatalla Shawky

UNIVERSITY CITY, SHARJAH – Society should stop placing a stigma on mental health issues and students should feel comfortable seeking help if they need it, an American University of Sharjah counselor said during a Tuesday, Oct. 18 webinar.

AUS counselor Husam Abdelkahleq described the social stigma about such issues as “a phenomenal representation of the public’s largely negative perceptions about persons with mental illness.”

He added that “stigma is the negative stereotype and discrimination, and is the behavior that results from this negative stereotype.”

Abdelkhaleq said people with mental health issues should feel free to seek help from counselors because they are “licensed professionals and objective experience helpers” that do not make judgments while listening. 

The event, organized by the AUS Student Council, was meant to raise awareness and address the significance of reaching out to someone suffering from a mental health issue.

Besides Abdelkhaleq, the webinar featured Dr. Chasity O’ Connell, another professional in the field. She began the session with a definition of mental health and discussed what stops people from talking about it.

She suggested ways to offer a safe space for someone who has a mental illness and showed students how they could share their stories with others.

For more information about AUS counseling services or to arrange a session please contact: +97165152100, or email: [email protected].