A letter to The Arab American News:
Do you think our leaders in Dearborn have done enough to promote mental health within our community? Every single one of us know at least one person struggling with depression, anxiety or other types of mental health problems. Why is it that we as a community turn away from the one issue that is affecting our loved ones? How about the young adults? After the nation’s shutdown, have we asked how our students and working parents are doing?
The COVID-19 pandemic caused an increase in depression, anxiety and other mental health problems due to loss of jobs, schools transitioning to virtual learning and going into complete isolation. Especially our Arab American brothers and sisters who continue to suffer in silence due to stigma. The greatest barrier for those in need of mental health services is stigma.
The Arab American News has an incredible number of followers (over 60,000) on Facebook and the newspaper alone reaches the older population who do not have social media accounts. You will be able to shed some light on this secret topic to help destigmatize mental health illness in our community. We will see more individuals seeking help when mental health is discussed more often by the largest newspaper outlet nationwide, The Arab American News.
Social media and news outlets are flooded with vaccine information and links on where to get vaccinated. The media has provided access to this information at people’s fingertips, when they turn on their cell phones, get on social media or when they turn on their television. Information regarding mental health and resources should be available just as much information is provided for the COVID-19 vaccine. The pandemic has triggered fear for so many and mental health symptoms have increased. People are unaware of how they can get help. The goal of addressing this issue is to destigmatize mental health and have easy access to information and resources.
I am urging you to consider making mental health resources just as available on your platform to tackle a greater issue in our community. Shifting the attention to promoting regular mental health screening and providing additional information about our mental health professionals, including their contact information so individuals can learn about the services that are available to them.
— Huda Altamimi holds a master’s degree in public health from Madonna University