Mentl Logo



What do we do when our little ones have big feelings? Do we as parents have the tools to help, and are we helping ourselves enough?

One answer came today as Viatris Inc., the new global healthcare company, and Sesame Workshop, the makers of Sesame Street, announced the launch of new resources for parents and children in the Middle East. Developed as part of their global partnership, the resources are designed to support the social and emotional needs of families across generations and help young children and their parents to recognise and manage ‘big feelings’.

The resources – available in Arabic and English at – include five new videos featuring beloved Sesame characters like Elmo and more, as well as advice from clinical psychologists. Each set of resources is built around a theme that resonates with parents and their children, and which helps them manage ‘big feelings’. These are: Handling Everyday Goodbyes, Big Changes, Managing Screen Time, Mindful Moments and Taking Care.

As part of the Middle East launch, Viatris has collaborated with expert partners from the region to help amplify the bilingual Sesame Workshop resources. Key regional partners include one of the largest regional social media personalities – mother of three, entrepreneur and wellbeing advocate Karen Wazen; leading clinical psychologist and parenting expert, Dr Saliha Afridi, founder of Dubai-based mental wellness clinic, The LightHouse Arabia; Dr Sara Al Dallal, President of Emirates Health Economics Society; and Scott Armstrong, mental health advocate and founder of the online mental health platform, mentl. 

They all shared their valuable expertise and experiences on the topic of parent and children’s mental wellbeing during a panel discussion in Dubai today, focused on key issues raised by the Sesame Workshop programme.

Ayman Mokhtar , Regional President for the Middle East Turkey and Levant at Viatris commented: “Our partnership with Sesame Workshop was first initiated in 2020 , and we are so pleased to announce the launch of the new resources focused on mental health and well-being for children, parents, and caregivers regionwide. Learning and tacking difficult subjects in a fun setting does help parents understand how to manage  big feelings, communicate with loved ones, and take care of themselves for a healthier community. At Viatris Middle East, we are committed to empowering people worldwide to live healthier at every stage of life, regardless of geography or circumstance and through our partnership with Sesame Workshop we will continue to support countless individuals, children, families and caregivers”.

Karen Wazen, mother, entrepreneur, and wellbeing advocate said: “As a mother of three whose profession revolves heavily around social media, both my children’s and my own mental health are a priority. The Caring for Each Other campaign videos and resources are specifically designed to help children process their feelings while providing useful tools for parents and families to take care of themselves. By helping our little ones maintain a healthy mind – and by ensuring as parents we can talk about our mental wellbeing – we can make sure that our children have the support they need to truly thrive throughout their lives.”

Dr Saliha Afridi, clinical psychologist and founder at The LightHouse Arabia said: “As a community that is committed to increasing public mental health awareness and reducing associated stigma, we at The LightHouse Arabia believe that normalising conversations about mental wellness and prioritising our children’s mental health are critical foundations for a well-rounded and healthy life. But it’s equally important that parents take time for their own mental wellbeing and are able to talk about their struggles and the pressures of parenting. The Caring for Each Other Campaign provides valuable resources to support the mental health and wellbeing of children, parents, and caregivers in the UAE and wider Middle East region.”

Dr Sara Al Dallal, president, Emirates Health Economics Society said: “In the UAE, mental health is a key pillar of the National Strategy for Wellbeing 2031, which aims to enhance people’s wellbeing by promoting healthy and active lifestyles and promoting good mental health. The country is leading the way on many fronts, and the government engages with and supports initiatives across multiple sectors which contribute to improved wellbeing. Better mental health and wellbeing are economically proven to enhance productivity and build healthier societies.”

Scott Armstrong, founder of mentl, said: “Around one in seven children face mental health issues, and I believe that we as parents play a huge role in supporting the wellbeing of our children. It all starts with building a strong foundation, and the bilingual resources provided by Viatris and Sesame Workshop are designed to help children process emotions and take care of themselves as well as their communities across the region. By encouraging parents and children to learn about mental health and speak out on the topic we can ultimately shed the stereotypes and stigma.”

According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), one in seven children experience a mental disorder, accounting for 13 percent of the global burden of disease in this age group[1].

The new bilingual resources are designed to encourage positive conversations between children, caregivers and families about separation anxiety and the effects of isolation and unpredictability, communicating changes and uncertainty, mitigating parental stress amidst personal loss and economic strains, normalizing seeking assistance for mental well-being and using media positively for learning.

 “By partnering with Viatris, we are able to provide broader access to resources that normalize seeking assistance, help mitigate caregivers’ stress and suggest new ways to talk through big challenges with children” said Sesame Workshop’s representative.

The materials are launched as part of Sesame Workshop’s Caring for Each Other initiative. To date, the initiative has reached families in more than 100 countries and 41 languages., is continuously updated to reflect the ever-evolving needs of parents, caregivers and children worldwide. Additional resources are distributed through a wide range of national and community providers as part of Sesame Street in Communities, Sesame Workshop’s program to support children and families.