Mind Force DXB is tell-tale sign of Dubai’s evolving mentality on mental health

Dubai Police has teamed up with mental health advocate Chris Haill and strategic partner Omnia for the initiative that will broaden the conversation on mental health.

The creation of Mind Force DXB – the product of a joint venture between Dubai Police, mental health advocate Chris Haill and strategic partner Omnia – is a tell-tale sign that the way the emirate approaches mental health is evolving.At the end of 2020, the United Arab Emirates decriminalised suicide, just months after attempted to take his life. Dubai Police intervened and ultimately saved Haill’s life after he posted a message on the British Dads Dubai Facebook group.

“They gave me a second chance effectively after 40 years of pain with this depression,” Haill said about Dubai Police. “There’s been a massive change in the way that Dubai Police approach this, and so they’re here to help and we’re moving in the right direction.”Haill’s own journey with depression has turned him into an advocate for mental health.“I met a number of people who were in the same situation as me, and [through Mind Force DXB] we want to change lives, we want to save lives,” he told Arabian Business.

The World Health Organization estimates that 5 percent of adults suffer from depression, and it is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. As Covid-19 cases began to rise in early 2020, so did rates of depression. One American study found depression rates tripled in the country during the pandemic.Mind Force DXB will host events, workshops, presentations, discussions, as well as seek partnerships with figures across the healthcare and educational sectors and businesses in Dubai. They are also looking for 10-15 companies to become funding partners of the new initiative.“We want to actually inform people that there are so many so many different avenues towards [addressing] mental health,” he said.Mental health is still heavily stigmatised, especially in the Middle East, but mindsets are changing, as are laws. However, more work still needs to be done to make people comfortable with having open and frank conversations about mental health.

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