Arab mental health stigma is being addressed through a newly launched digital platform. Houna offers information, resources, and support groups in Arabic to help tackle taboos surrounding the issue. The founder of Houna, Sheikha Majda Al-Sabah, told Arab News that Arabic mental health resources are lacking. Researching anything in Arabic is difficult.
– Houna is a non-profit initiative that cares for mental health and acts like an aggregator and takes all the people that need help in terms of mental health and connects them to people that provide it. she said.
Houna was founded by philanthropist and mental health advocate Al-Sabah with the goal of helping individuals suffering from depression, anxiety, abuse, eating disorders, addictions, or thoughts of suicide. In addition to providing information, Houna can point people to relevant support groups offering live counseling sessions, while also raising awareness of mental health issues.
“We truly believe that support groups are the best way to take care of mental health,” Al-Sabah said.
The platform works on the principles of inclusivity, respect, confidentiality, credibility, and integrity. It provides resources written in Arabic and English for people of all ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, and nationalities in the Middle East. In addition to podcasts, articles, webinars, and online events, the data includes the latest information on mental health disorders, symptoms, and treatments. Houna also offers regular mental health support groups as well as direct access to 150 licensed therapists and medical professionals.