Musician uses music to end mental illness stigma



Sun, 05 Nov 2017 - 02:54 GMT


Sun, 05 Nov 2017 - 02:54 GMT

 Disclosure demo reflecting depression inside many – Courtesy from SoundCloud

Disclosure demo reflecting depression inside many – Courtesy from SoundCloud

CAIRO – 5 November 2017: Canada-based Egyptian musician Ally Salama devotes his music to encourage Egyptians to break the silence inside them and speak out about their pain without shame or stigmatization.

Founded on October 19 on Facebook, his platform “Break the Silence” aims to break the stigma in Egypt about those who have mental health issues and go to psychiatrists. He seeks to change the way people see psychological disorders to be like common diseases whose patients can seek treatment and continue to have normal lives.

“Most Egyptians cannot admit they have a mental health problem to others caused mainly by a serious problem they faced in their life due to stigmatization, because if the community finds out about them their reputation would be destroyed,” said Salama.

The most important target he wants to achieve through his platform, besides tackling mental health issues, is making people listen to each other and sympathize with others, particularly because the voices of mentally ill people are easily ignored.

Consequently, Salama produces music albums, including “Disclosure,” which urges people to listen to each other without underestimating their pain. Through music he believes that he brings these issues to life and conveys the feelings so many often keep bottled up.

He is currently working on a seven-music album to raise widespread awareness of the magnitude and validity of mental health issues.

For Salama, music is a powerful therapy that can cure depression and loneliness from which some suffer from by relieving depression and help people express what is difficult to articulate in words.

Salama encourages Egyptians to write anonymously on the Break Silence Facebook Page about their problems.

He wants them to speak and express their pain that so often leads to suicide.

“Stigma is a killer that tracks down people with mental illness who are afraid of revealing their hidden secrets in order not to be rejected by others,” Salama said.

After witnessing one of his relatives suffering from that, he decided to launch the page on Facebook and use his talent in music. With the help of his friends in Egypt, once the page was shared in Facebook, he found that many responded to it without even having any official outlet for the campaign.

“This proves that youth in Egypt are in desperate need of people to listen to them and the extent of stigmatization continues to spreas in Egypt. Parents are also sometimes unable to understand them,” Salama said.

People write and share their experiences on the page, inspiring others to do the same and promoting mental health awareness.

“We also contact those people who are about to commit suicide to speak and listen to them and sometimes provide them with the phone number of psychiatrists,” Salama said.



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