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I graduated with a BSc Psychology (Hons) in 2022, through which I became inspired to advocate for mental health awareness and research. Youth mental health is a major concern in Maldives, given the high incidences of child abuse, gang activity, drug dependency and poverty. Adding to these growing concerns are the deterioration of the delicate Maldives islands due to climate change.

Seeing the struggles that the youth are facing in my community as well as my own experience in mental health issues, I believe it is crucial to prioritise youth mental health and wellbeing. I utilise social media advocacy to create educational social media posts on mental health and social issues in the Maldives’ context, as well as fighting mental health stigma.

I am currently working as a research assistant at Small Island Geographic Society (SIGS), a Non-Governmental Organisation in Maldives where I am mainly involved in research work, community engagement, advocacy and research communication in the area of environmental social science.

I am also a freelance writer, focusing on social issues, mental health, the unique environment of Maldives and nature-connectedness.

Based on the mental health concerns of youth in Maldives, my project focuses on two key ideas.

  1. Navigating mental health stigma: While awareness of mental health is rising among young people, they still can be discouraged from seeking help by the stigma their families may associate with it. My project seeks to empower youth to help navigate the mental health stigma they face from within their family and to address this within their close circles through social media advocacy and group discussion sessions. It is hoped this would help lessen the feelings of isolation that Maldivian youth experience, whilst also expanding their mental health support system to include their family.
  2. Connecting with nature: Seeking solace from the surrounding environment - whether by sitting at the beach at sunset, diving to observe coral reefs and marine life, or taking a longer route home just to pass by the ocean - is an almost universal experience among Maldivians. We often don’t make the connection with its importance to mental wellbeing. With rapid development and through the impacts of climate change, our environment is changing drastically. My project aims to share stories of nature-based activities to cope with mental health struggles and support youth mental-wellbeing. I envision this to be through short videos uploaded on social media, with the aim of sharing the powerful role nature can play in our mental health and for viewers to be able to relate their own experiences through the videos.