اليوم العالمي للصحة العقلية: تحطيم حاجز الخجل وفتح باب الحوار

الصحة العقلية موضوع شائك وحساس ان صح التعبير. على الرغم من وصولنا عام 2018  إلى ان في كل مرة يطرح فيها موضوع الصحة العقلية يسود الجو الربكة وعدم الارتياح  والتساؤلات الغريبة.

الأربعاء 10 أكتوبر هو اليوم العالمي للصحة العقلية. دعونا نقف للحظة لمعرفة ما يمكننا القيام به كأصدقاء، زملاء وجيراناو في الحقيقة لنقف لحظة للحديث عنه!

لنبدأ بالأساسيات، ما الذي نعنيه بالصحة العقلية؟

عندما نتحدث عن الصحة العقلية نعني مدى صحتنا العاطفية والنفسية وكذلك مدى حسن  تعاملنا مع الاخرين في حياتنا الاجتماعية. تؤثر الصحة العقلية على طريقة تفكيرنا وحقيقة شعورنا وتصرفاتنا في الحياة اليومية مع تحملنا للإجهاد العالي، وكذلك تؤثر على روابطنا الاجتماعية والقدرة على اتخاذ القرارات. الصحة العقلية  والأمراض العقلية حالتين مختلفتين تماماً بالرغم تساوي الأهمية.

في هذا المقال، سنبحث عن الطرق التي يمكن من خلالها ملاحظة ورعاية الصحة العقلية بشكل جماعي، وتحديداً في بيئة العمل، بالإضافة إلى تسليط الضوء على بعض المبادرات الرائدة التي تجري في الشرق الوسط وكذلك هنا في دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة.

إزالة وصمة الخجل

إذا أردنا معالجة مسألة الصحة العقلية بفعالية في بيئة العمل، يجب ان يكون من الطبيعي للناس ان يخبرونا بإنهم ليسوا بخير اذا كانوا كذلك وان لايشعروا بالخجل من ذلك. من الواضح ان الخطوات الصغيرة تحدث فرقا كبيرا لحل المسألة، وعلى سبيل المثال ضع موضوع الصحة العقلية في اجندة الاجتماعات: توقف للحظة عندما تسأل زميلاًكيف حالك؟واستمع بصدق إلى الاجابة بينما تحتسون كوب القهوة أو تتناولون وجبة خفيفة معاً وبذلك نقوي التواصل ونشجع تبادل الافكار.

كن شجاعا. كن صانع التغيير

بالنظر إلى أن الصحة العقلية ليست امر معترف به على نطاق واسع. فقد يكون من الصعب معرفة ما هو (المعيار الطبيعي) للقياس ولإتخاذ الاجراءات اللازمة اذا صح التعبير. وقد يشعر الزملاء والأصدقاء أنهم متطفلون أو انهم يتجاوزون حدودهم بالإهتمام بصحة الآخرين العقلية. إننا ندعوك أن تأخذها كمهمة شخصية على عاتقك لجعل الاعتراف بالصحة العقلية ومناقشتها امر طبيعي وكذلك ان تدعم قضايا الصحة العقلية.

اعطي الاهتمام اللازم

قد يكون ذلك بديهي صحيح، لكن الصحة العقلية موضوع معقد يساء فهمه إلى حد كبير ؛ الأعراض لاتكون واضحة دائما وفي الواقع معظم الحالات تمضي دون أن يكتشفها أحد او يعترف بها أو قد يساء تقديرها. من الشائع أن يعمم المصابون الأعراض، يقللون من شأنها أو يخفونها عن الآخرين تماماً. بناء على ذلك من المهم أن يظل أصحاب العمل مبادرين ومتفهمين. وعلى سبيل المثال قد يكون التأخر أو تقلبات المزاج أو ضعف الأداء أو المظهر الاشعث أو الحماسة المبالغ فيها في غير محلها مؤشرات على أن شخصاً ما قد يعاني من صحته العقلية. لا تكن سريع في الحكم بل كن منفتحاً وواعياً في اسلوبك. امعن النظر في من حولك 🙂

ما هي الاجراءات المتخذة محليا؟

يجري اتخاذ خطوات على الصعيدين المحلي والعالمي لمعالجة هذه القضية. في شهر أكتوبر من العام الماضي، أعلنت هيئة الصحة بدبي عن إستراتيجية نحو مجتمع اكثر صحة وسعادة . وقد صممت المبادرة للمساعدة في مكافحة ارتفاع قضية ازدياد عدد اللأشخاص الذين يعانون من سوء الصحة العقلية من خلالإزالة الوصمة المرتبطة به ودعم المريض“.

في مهرجان دبي لينكس للإبداع مطلع هذا العام، استضافت (ماركتنج سوسايتي) أول حلقة نقاش جريئة في هذا الموضوع بهدف تشجيع بدء النقاش في المنطقة على مستوى جماهيري. سيتبعونها بحلقة اخرى تحفز الشجاعة في مواجهة قضية الصحة العقلية في الـ 30 من أكتوبر.

قال خالد إسماعيل رئيس مجلس إدارة شركة ماركتنج سوسايتي بـ الشرق الأوسطالصحة العقلية أو كما أحب أن أشير إليهاالسلامة العقليةتؤثر علينا جميعاً بشكل عميق، مع تبعات قد تمتد من الصحة الشخصية والاجتماعية إلى الاقتصاد الوطني. في نطاق المجال لا نحتاج إلى الحديث عن ذلك فقط بل نحن في حاجة إلى العمل والاستمرار في رفع الوعي.

ندعوكم إلى الانضمام إلينا في حلقة النقاش عن الصحة العقلية في الـ 30 من أكتوبر مع جيف ماكدونالد ، الرئيس التنفيذي لصحة العقل المنفتح  ونائب الرئيس العالمي للموارد البشرية السابق للتسويق والاتصالات والاستدامة والمواهب في يونيليفير . “

اضغط هنا RSVP  لتأكيد حضورك ومعرفة المزيد.

هناك المزيد من الامور الرائعة تحدث هنا في فضاء التكنولوجيا حيث قام رواد أعمال في دبي (مات شرام) و(جولس شولتن) باطلاق (تاك سيركلحلقة نقاش-) وهي بوابة إلكترونية تربط بين مستشارين مرخصين وخبراء في مجال الصحة من جميع أنحاء العالم.  

يتم الآن اتخاذ خطوات جريئة ونحن بحاجة لدعمك. شارك أفكارك ، اكتب مقالات ومنشورات ساهم معنا، والأهم من ذلكاهتم بمن حولك .

واخيراً لا يسعنا ان نؤكد على ان الاكتئاب والقلق ونوبات الهلع وكافة الاعراض الخارجية الأخرى التي تنتاب شخص يعاني من صحته العقلية ليست علامة على الضعف بل علامة على القوة في تحمل الضغط.

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Is social media making us anti-social?

During our recent weekly “Debate Club for Nurds” session at Bravo Romeo HQ we discussed the subject of whether social media is making us more anti-social. The subject divided our group and a fierce debate ensued. In this blogpost, we’ll examine the arguments from both sides and we invite you to join our debate in the comments section.

In the beginning..

Whenever a new technology emerges that fundamentally changes the way we live, it generates debate over the nature of that change and whether it’s “good” or “bad.” In the 1800s, when a monumental communication revolution was taking place — the advent of the telephone – there were privacy fears, worries that people would listen to the phone conversations and face-to-face communication would be lost. Complaints abounded about unwanted calls and the annoyance of interruptions plagued even its inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, who refused to have a phone installed in his workroom. The phone was thought of as so intrusive that in 1890 Mark Twain wrote a Christmas card wishing all people rest and peace, except for the inventor of the telephone. And it is no different for technology that affects our communication today. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, and Twitter that have revolutionized the way human beings source information, communicate and interact with one another. In this blog we’ll be discussing the positive effects in terms of empowering and connecting people whilst conversely examining how they can be a platform for negative, and sometimes destructive, behavior.

What do we mean by “anti-social”?

Before we delve into the debate at hand, let’s begin by defining anti-social. Anti-social: not sociable; not wanting the company of others. Therefore, the affirmative camp in this debate argued, by very definition anti-social is a behavioral trait, rather than one caused by technology. On the other hand, does too much screen time lead to more and more of this anti-social behavior presenting itself in our society? After all human interaction is in our nature, it’s been part of the way we form relationships, build trust and for years has been our main channel of communication.

Enter social media. Now face-to-face interaction is not a must. You can do business, make friends, form relationships with people from all over the world and maintain them for years, without ever having met. However spending all this time texting, commenting and liking or sharing photos makes us feel that it’s much easier and faster to communicate with our friends online, rather than invite them over for a gathering, for instance. This in turn keeps us addicted to the newsfeed… and so the cycles continues.

While technology has undoubtedly made communication easier and given us a wider reach, there are concerns that excessive use of technology can be addictive. People crave validation and attention via their social posts, more so than they do via interactions with humans in real life. This addiction is reflected through consumer behavior with 27% of consumers admitting to checking their social networks as soon as they wake up, and 51% continuing to log in periodically throughout the day.

However it’s when addiction turns from a solitary indulgence into a straight up preference over human interaction that the debate really comes into its own. It’s hard not to be concerned when you see a group of people sitting together, each staring in his or her own smartphone constantly scrolling through their accounts. We’ve all seen it. Let’s be honest, we’ve all done it.

But just as with our earlier point around the advent of the telephone, this is not new. People have always found ways to communicate without human interaction, be it through newspapers, radio, even literature.

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So, is social media to blame?

While there are convincing arguments for and against (and believe me we had a great time hashing it out together in the office!) our conclusion is no.

Social media has opened up a world of connectivity and conversation. People can keep in touch with others from all around the world, start discussions with groups they would never have met in real life, follow hashtags to surface different perspectives on the same issue. It helps alleviate the tyranny of distance, in some ways, and has accelerated global and local communication at speeds unattainable in the past. Since communication is the backbone of social interaction, we think it’s therefore wrong to say, out and out, that social media is making us anti-social. What do you think?

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Generation Innovation: Why Gen Z is poised to hack the world, in the MENA region and beyond

Today’s young adult is different. Gen Z, born to digital-savvy parents and growing up in a world of technological accessibility, are our first true digital natives. For Gen Z, technology is as natural as oxygen, with connected devices prevalent within their lives since birth.

Unlike their Millennial counterparts, Gen Z have a realistic and practical worldview; they know that they have to make their own opportunities and be financially responsible. Industriousness, the ability to multi-task, resourcefulness, collaboration and entrepreneurship are hallmarks of this generation.

This blogpost will examine this generation’s social, cultural, political and economic outlook both regionally and globally, to reveal how they will hack the world to create a better future, powered by hyper connectivity and collaboration.

So what makes them so different?

To understand this generation, we must first understand the landscape that they have been raised in. To put it bluntly, Gen Z were born into a bleak world.

Conflict

This generation have grown up through many brutal and harrowing global conflicts, the war on terrorism, the Arab spring to name but a few. And while overall conflict may have reduced since prior generations, this generation have unprecedented levels of exposure to the conflict in the world due to the access to media and technology, making them a lot more cognizant of it.

Environment

Climate change, global warming, species extinction and the finite resources are just a few of the worries around the environment. We’ve fallen into the routine of using far more of the earth’s resources than we could possibly ever replenish, and we don’t have a plan b for when they run out. The state of our planet is abhorrent and Gen Z hold past generations responsible.

Economy

Likewise, the economy has suffered greatly in recent years. Gen Z grew up with parents who lost jobs because of the credit crunch, watched Millennials graduate with Geography degrees that are no longer relevant and are now themselves faced with a housing market that is becoming more and more impenetrable to the youth.

red symbolsImage Credit: Matthew Brodeur

The Differentiators

With these grim factors at play, many would assume the youth to be ambivalent. But in fact, they are quite the opposite. While Millennials saw the Internet as a place for duck-faces and swiping right, Gen Z’s outlook is very different. Gen Z are resourceful, they see the internet as their secret weapon and want to use it to solve the worlds hardest problems. Gen Z want to challenge the status quo and fix the mistakes of generations gone by. Their outlook is optimistic, progressive and deeply collaborative.

How?

At the heart of it all, lies technology. As we mentioned at the beginning of the piece, this generation are digital natives. They’ve never had to make the transition from offline to online, and have grown up in a world where “Googling” has always been a verb. Armed with this accessible, evolving technology, Gen Z have taught themselves skills online, moved away from the traditional means of education and as a result have become a lot more entrepreneurial.

A wonderful example of this is Jack Andraka. A teenager from the USA who used the wealth of information available through the Internet, coupled with his teenage optimism, to do what everyone told him was impossible – find a detector test for pancreatic cancer. Check out his amazing story:

Incredible right?

Another inspiring example is that of Dutch youngster Boyan Slat. Appalled at the state of the world’s oceans, he devised a plan to clean up the devastating amount of plastic polluting our planet’s resources. Unsatisfied with the attitude of previous generations who’s outlook is “we can’t fix it, all we can do is try not to make it worse” he started a project called “The Ocean Clean Up”. Here’s his story so far:

 

Our Responsibility

Equipped with this knowledge about Gen Z, it is our responsibility as mentors, parents, teachers and role models to act as facilitators for this new generation and nurture their approach. It is the combined responsibility of government, industry and academia to address the skills gap that is being created in the face of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (don’t believe us – just ask the Millennials with their Geography degrees).

Let’s take a look at some of the examples from around the world as well as within the UAE of support systems that have been put in place to mitigate this evolving issue.

1.The Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation has been established to address the growing need for talented designers and innovators in the UAE and beyond – today’s students who will be tomorrow’s innovators.

2.Smart City University, is the world’s first open platform for decentralized education and digital skill development on the blockchain, accessible from anywhere. It’s presently being created by Smart Dubai to formalize and certify the skills people are learning through otherwise unconventional means, increase the number of people qualified for the new industry roles that await them and to enable people from anywhere to build their own educational path towards the future, fourth industrial revolution-world economy

3. Established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Code.org is a nonprofit entity dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools around the world. Their goal is that computer coding should become the norm in a schools curriculum and given the same importance as say biology or algebra.

The above ecosystems are well poised to help Gen Z in their quest to challenge the status quo, harness technology to solve the biggest challenges the world faces and change the way we think and live. Their outlook, coupled with the technological advances means that Gen Z aren’t just set to hack the world…they’re going to rule it.

 

Featured Image Credit: Drew Graham

Got a blogpost to write for work? (Make Google do it!)

 

Once upon a time, robots were the stuff of sc-fi movies and graphic novels. For most, this conjures up an image of a dalek-like helper with an automated voice who, in our imagination, could one day help with the washing up. Nowadays, this has evolved into a more virtual and smarter concept. 

As technology advances so does AI, its capabilities and our expectations of it. Developers at Google have created a device that can understand orders, perform tasks intelligently and professionally, understand complex language of the ordinary human and know how to respond to it. To date, we have seen examples of this through technologies such as Siri VI and Google Home.

On May 8, 2018 Google levelled up and launched Google Duplex, a smart assistant, the likes of which have never been seen before.

What is Google Assistant?

Google Assistant is Google’s voice-controlled smart assistant. The technology is marketed as an application that can save you time and make your life easier, by assisting with day-to-day tasks. Google Duplex makes the conversational experience as natural as possible, allowing people to speak normally like they would to another person, without having to adapt to a machine.

What Makes it Different?

Google Assistant has the below differentiators setting it aside from existing voice-controlled AI technologies:

  1. Google Assistant Multiple Actions means that it can handle multiple requests at once, something that other AI-powered assistants have yet to master
  2. The assistant can understand when you are speaking to it or when you are speaking to someone else around you due to its ability to understand the nuances of the conversation

This doesn’t mean to say that there is no competition. While Google’s AI-powered, conversational capabilities such as these have never been seen before, Amazon Alexa (released in 2014) is compatible with over 12,000 devices while Google Assistant only 5000.

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Image Credit: Google.com

The Future of Smart Technology

At Bravo, technology is a passion of ours and we love learning about new smart solutions. We asked the team to share their thoughts on Google Assistant and while some of the team like the idea of a smart assistant to help with their life admin, there was some apprehension around privacy.

Gamze says, “The main aim of Google Assistant is to enter your private life in order to help make your life much easier, which for me raises privacy concerns. The assistant will need to grab as much information as possible from my personal data, day-to-day activities, documents and much more to become more powerful, faster and ultimately “smarter”. It is simply not useful without me sharing my personal information with it. Hence, this raises a lot of concerns; To what extent does Google Assistant have access to my stored information? What if my information is used for advertising purposes? Is it heavily secured or could it be hacked? Will my data be sold?”

Mer echo’s these sentiments with concerns around data management and the need for full disclosure, “There is an early indicator however that transparency is not a priority and that concerns the subject of DISCLOSURE. The fact is that you don’t know whether you’re speaking to a human or robot, Google Assistant does not disclose itself to you. And that, in my opinion, is really dangerous – there are likely to be a range of use cases for bad players. Couple this with the AI-infused natural language processing, whereby you have Google Assistant reflecting human intonation and speech, the “umms,” “eerrrs” and “ahhhs” for example and the end user is even more readily deceived”.

 

This is more true than ever now, in the wake of GDPR, where consent means offering users choice and control. With regards to data, as we mentioned on our previous blogpost, the GDPR defines consent as “any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her”.

However, Google is claiming to care about clarity and transparency and a Google spokesperson was quoted in the Financial Express saying, “We understand and value the discussion around Google Duplex, as we have said from the beginning, transparency in the technology is important”.

“We are designing this feature with disclosure built-in, and we will make sure the system is appropriately identified. What we showed at I/O was an early technology demo, and we look forward to incorporating feedback as we develop this into a product,” the spokesperson added.

So What’s Next ?

At the moment, Google can follow instructions but what if Google got smarter than this and started to make decisions for us?  For now, we can book hair appointments and get simple tasks done but will we be able to send Google Assistant to work for us in the future?

As Katie said, ”For me to actually bother to use Google Assistant it would have to be smart enough to carry out tasks that I see as a real hardship. For example, my car registration is currently three weeks overdue, if Google could take care of that? Absolutely – sign me up! My DEWA bill is the bane of my life – can Google pay it? Yes please! I also could really do with finding the cheapest way to get from Dubai to Scotland over the summer but I can’t face trawling through all the compare websites – can I make Google do it?”

And so, we’ve reached a crossroads…on one hand we have technology advancing at an exponential pace and on the other, we have a more aware, discerning audience with real concerns about data-privacy and cyber security. Do regulations such as GDPR make it harder for companies to be free to invent new technologies by imposing all these regulations? If Google can find the careful balance between creating a smart, truly useful product and at the same time genuinely addressing its users concerns, we believe that will be the key to success. What do you think? Send us your thoughts on hello@bravoromeobyaj.com

Featured Image Credit: 9to5google.com