together a psychologist, a health professor, a happiness expert, a place maker
and an environmental epidemiologist, Expo’s latest World Majlis gathered global
experts to share ideas on how we can improve mental wellness and build
healthier, happier communities.
Part of Health and Wellness Week, the
latest in a series of Expo-led thematic weeks that seek to address some of the
world’s most pressing challenges, World Majlis participants spoke positively
about how the pandemic had pushed mental health into the spotlight.
Dr Sarah Rasmi, UAE-based psychologist and founder
of the Thrive Wellbeing Centre, applauded the increased public discourse around
the topic, and the fact many governments around the world are now prioritising
mental health, as signs of hope for the future.
Professor Shekhar Saxena from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, encouraged people
not to think of the world as divided into two – those with, and those without,
mental health issues – but instead consider a mental health spectrum, where
people move around in response to situations around them, including COVID-19.
Noof Al Jenebi, Director of the Emirates Centre for
Happiness Research, emphasised the need to further reduce the stigma around
mental health, especially for young people. Dr Kerstyn Comley, co-founder of the pioneering MeeTwo app, which
allows young people to share their mental concerns anonymously and get advice
from their peers, suggested a move away from talking about ‘mental health’ and
instead referring to ‘mental wellness.’
The conversation also probed the significance of
the physical environment to our mental well-being, with Dr Nino Künzli, Dean of the Swiss School of Public Health, speaking
about nature as a crucial tool in building human resilience and balancing
mental health, while Nadine Bitar, a thought leader on
place-led approach for future cities, focused on the urban environment and the
importance of ‘loveable places’ that enhance our connectivity, mobility and
sense of community.
To watch the session
full, please click here