A very first-of-its-kind, Health Tech Meetup was organized by Saaya Health, hosted at the National Incubation Center, Karachi on 5th December 2018. Saaya Health works in providing employee and student wellness programs as well as online counseling for emotional wellbeing.
Start-up leaders who are using technology to create mental health solutions and spread awareness in Pakistan, as well as domain experts from the field joined in to share challenges of working in the mental health and tech space, to brainstorm further innovations in the field and to explore how all the various players can join hands to create better solutions.
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Sarmad Ahmad, CEO of Saaya Health moderated the event. Alizeh Valjee, Co-founder of Saaya Health, kicked off the event by giving a brief introduction on mental health and emotional well being is, for the purpose of involving people from all backgrounds into the discussion.
“We are going to be talking about the mental health of you and I, the mental health of every single person. This includes the health of our mind and our emotions. This affects our ability to think, perform at tasks; it affects how we’re feeling in response to ourselves and how we feel towards others. So it affects how we behave and interact.”
She went on to explain,
“Like in any kind of health, mental health also has a spectrum. There will be people with good mental health and poor mental health. It will also include people with mental illness.”
During the discussion, Dr. Nirmal Niazi, PhD Fellow in Clinical Psychology at
Bahria University Karachi, reinforced the idea that mental health is not limited to mental illness but includes the mental health of the common man and the ability of the common man to improve one’s own self.
Dr. Taha Sabri, Co-founder of Taskeen said that in order to tackle the stigma around the subject we need to change the language we use to talk about mental health. He has found through his work that there is no lack of understanding; that laypeople speak of the tension that they experience and are aware that this tension can negatively impact their health if not addressed.
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Co-founder Roohbaru Shahrina Hashwani, and Dr. Sara Khurram from Sehat Kahani shared their insights based on their field work. In their experience, Pakistanis are willing to speak out about their personal stories and seek support when it’s available. They spoke about how technology has helped provide access to support in areas where there are no mental health professionals.
The event included a networking hour that brought together the participants to collaborate and work on the future infrastructure and accessibility of mental health across Pakistan.
Image source: SaayaHealth