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the mentl awards 2023

How do we build a future where individuals feel seen, heard, and valued?

We glorify hustle culture, we work – or are worked – to burnout while we unwittingly embrace and accept increasing isolation. Is each individual now an island disconnected from the mainland of humanity? Does the essence of human connection risk being overshadowed? Or, like a startup, can we solve for this, not with technology but with compassion.

In a latest episode of the ‘the mentl space’ podcast, host Scott Armstrong had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Nahida Nayaz Ahmed, a renowned consultant psychiatrist and pivotal in many of the major initiatives on mental health in the UAE.

Throughout the conversation, Dr. Nahida shares her insights and experiences, emphasising the transformative power of words and the importance of creating compassionate and inclusive environments. Let’s delve into some of the top moments from this enlightening interview.

Dr. Nahida joins ‘the mentl space’ podcast also as a judge for ‘the mentl awards 2023’.

Our black tie gala dinner at the St Regis Downtown hotel in Dubai on November 10 will hero individuals, initiatives and industries and institutions across the public and private sector who are tackling the stigma of mental health and creating cultures where people thrive.

For tickets or table enquiries email

The importance of connection and community for mental health and well-being

Dr. Nahida focused on the significance of human connection and the impact it has on our mental well-being, especially in the workplace where we, on average, spend a third of our lives.

Speaking about the power of words, she told the podcast, “You know, your words could mean so much, especially if you’re in a leadership role, create positivity, create compassion and kindness in your atmosphere around you and then that just proliferates itself.”

Dr Nahida underscored the importance of fostering supportive communities and nurturing relationships to promote mental health.

Shifting focus in psychiatry: From institutionalisation to functional recovery

Dr. Nahida discussed the need to shift the focus in psychiatry from treatment in institutions to functional recovery in the community. She highlighted the potential for individuals with mental illnesses to lead fulfilling lives when provided with purpose and avenues to seek it. Dr. Nahida shared a powerful example of a patient who experienced a significant transformation through rehabilitation and reintegration, stating, “Giving them that purpose or avenues to seek purpose for what they do when they wake up in the morning. I think that’s incredible.”

The urgent need for increased support and awareness of mental health issues

Dr. Nahida expressed her concern about the lack of support and awareness surrounding mental health issues, particularly among younger individuals.

She stressed the importance of advocacy and the role of leadership in prioritising mental health in healthcare systems. Dr. Nahida commended the UAE’s leadership for their vision and support, stating, “We are profoundly blessed to have that kind of leadership and vision that would say yes, we are here to support you and put our mental health as a priority in healthcare.”

The need for compassion

The interview with Dr. Nahida Nayaz Ahmed sheds light on the importance of compassion and passion for advocacy and her dedication to improving mental health initiatives serve as an inspiration to all.

As we navigate the complexities of mental health, let us remember the profound impact our words and actions can have on those around us, and strive to create a society that prioritises understanding, and inclusivity.

Chapter List

05:09 Chapter 1: The importance of connection and community for mental health and well-being
08:24 Chapter 2: World-leading efforts to address mental health during Covid-19 pandemic
13:13 Chapter 3: The importance of addressing mental illness and promoting mental health
16:33 Chapter 4: Creating purposeful and inclusive workplaces
21:23 Chapter 5: Shifting focus in psychiatry: From institutionalisation to functional recovery
27:33 Chapter 6: Urgent need for increased support and awareness of mental health issues, especially among younger individuals
32:44 Chapter 7: The benefits of connection and support in reducing stress and anxiety
36:40 Chapter 8: Hope for a caring and inclusive society