During the pandemic, and especially when we were in lockdown, many of us had a hard time coping and suffered with our mental wellbeing. Even after the lockdown was lifted, some people were struggling to get back to the “new normal”, and back to communicating with fellow human beings after being in solitude for months. To help youth with these struggles, Ally Salama launched EMPWRNG MNDS, a series of virtual speaker panels featuring expert guests, to communicate within minority communities on the best ways to tackle youth mental health issues.
The series is the world’s first online youth leadership and wellbeing biweekly event series, targeting Arab youth everywhere. It will discuss a number of topics, including “Managing Our Mental Health & Wellbeing During The Fall Exam Season”, “Some Parents Just Don’t Get Mental Health” and “The Mental Health Epidemic in the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem”. The debut online event hosted attendees from more than 10 countries, including Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco.
Ally Salama is the Middle East’s Mental Health Ambassador, and founder of EMPWR MAG, the Middle East’s first mental health magazine. The award-winning podcast producer and host spoke to us about the series, what inspired him, and what he aims to achieve from it.
Salama aims to create the largest youth leadership and wellness movement, and to have ambassadors for EMPWRNG MNDS all over the world. These ambassadors would focus on providing safe spaces where partnerships with mental wellness centers can contribute to empowering the development of our community’s youth.
“After hosting EMPWRNG MNDS Conference in July (Canada’s online COVID-19 relief youth mental health conference), where we were able to bring the Minister of Youth in Canada, we found the impact to be substantial for youth. We realised youth needed more safe spaces to actively discuss mental health and leadership matters. Hence, we decided to go big and bring the community now in a global scale,” said Salama.
“As a community, we can network and meet with youth across the globe. That way, it’s more impactful and hopefully, youth can feel less alone during these challenging times,” concluded Salama.