Must-Watch Arab Films Breaking Mental Health Stigmas for Men

The entire month of June is known as Men’s Mental Health Month, a month devoted to raising awareness about mental health, whether through social media or other avenues.

To change things up, there is another fun way to normalize talking about mental health among men, and that is through unique and refreshing films, ones that spark conversations and instill a new wave of awareness.

Sorry For The Disturbance 

*Spoiler Alert*

Bringing a similar feel to “A Beautiful Mind,” this is a film that knows how to trick the audience. Throughout the film, we see Ahmed Helmy go about a normal life, where he meets a beautiful girl at a cafe and ends up dating her.

It turns out, though, that the girl doesn’t exist, and neither does his father, who we see Helmy spending time with throughout the film. It all means that he suffers from visual schizophrenia, a major mental disorder not spoken enough about.


Taking place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia is a film that is not only directed by Fatima Al-Banawi but also stars the director in the lead role. She play the role of Basma, the 26-year old daughter of a man suffering from paranoid delusions.

After coming back to Saudi Arabia from the US, she tries to save her dad from his spiraling mental instability. It is a film that tackles mental illness in the Kingdom, attempting to normalize it and shift it from being a taboo subject.

Iraq: A State Of Mind

This is a documentary that has been a year in the making and revolves around the time after Iraq began to rebuild following the defeat of the Islamic State group. It delves into the mental health crisis that plagued the country, which had only one psychiatric hospital for a population of 38 million.


Such a film brings to light the importance of having psychiatric hospitals open and ready to serve the public. It showcases the consequences of not having access to psychiatric care, and that brings about more positive conversations around the importance of mental health care among men.


Raising awareness about mental health also involves broadening people’s knowledge about what is safe and unsafe when dealing with mental health issues. That is where the film Farah comes in. It is an Emirates-produced Lebanese psychological thriller directed by Emirati-British couple Hassiba Freiha and Kenton Oxley.

Watching the film, you will follow the story of Lina, who suffered a nervous breakdown in the US, and so her father made her return to Lebanon. On her return to Lebanon, she suffers from extreme nightmares and begins to lose her sanity.

The issue is that Lina’s dark nightmares persist even after taking prescribed medication from her psychiatrist. This highlights the importance of seeking the correct treatment and being careful with medication.

Knock On My Door

PTSD is a common issue among war veterans, and across the Arab world, a lot of men face severe conditions after having to take part in multiple wars across the region. The issue is that not many know how to deal with PTSD or are able to know that they suffer from it.

With the Jordanian film “Knock On My Door,” it deals with a character called “Sham”, who was psychologically traumatized after the death of her family during the war.

Now, when she hears certain sounds, she gets triggered with a violent reaction. “Sham” is lucky because a nurse called “Ahed” picked up that she suffers from PTSD, and that is how Sham began to undergo treatment. With this film, men will get to learn what PTSD is and that there are ways to treat the disorder.

Each of the Arab films selected places a lens on a wide variety of mental illnesses as well as the importance of psychiatric hospitals. They highlight that anyone can suffer from a mental illness, that these conditions are as problematic as physical illnesses, and that they deserve attention.

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