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SAT Feb 16: Healing Souls- A website on mental health education for the well-being of Pakistani young women (Munir Moosa)

16 February 2019

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Munir Moosa Sadruddin
30 December 2018


Mental health is significant to an individual's well-being. Young people with positive mental health contribute constructively in daily life and are less likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors (Knopf, Park and Mulye, 2008; Reynolds et al., 2013). 

During recent years, the prevalence of mental health issues has mounted among young Pakistani women (Yusufzai, 2018). In a survey carried out in 2017, 44% of the entire population reported a high frequency of depression of which 57.5% were women (Sarfraz, 2017).

Female higher education students, in particular, are affected by depression and its associated risk factors due to socio-economic and cultural barriers (Ahmed et al., 2016; Saleem, Mahmood and Naz, 2013). In a survey conducted in Karachi, Pakistan 38.07 % of males and 61.00 % of female students indicated severe depression (Ghayas et al., 2014).

According to Sohail, Syed, and Rahman, “In the Pakistani context, traditionally, the oppressive family/community environment is identified by Western-trained psychiatrists as an important cause of mental health problems in Muslim societies” (2017, p.32). Despite women’s participation in education and employment, their role in decision making and personal choices are sparse because of patriarchal culture (Gull Tarar and Pulla, 2014; Malik and Aamir, 2017).

There is a lack of awareness among female learners towards mental health due to the stigma associated with mental illness and unavailability of policy intervention (Damani, 2018; Kazmi, 2018; Waqas et al., 2014). To meet this need, “a culturally appropriate mental health awareness intervention” (Ali, et al., 2016, p.1) is believed to have a positive impact on their well-being.

My project takes an innovative approach to open learning. A multimedia object, i.e., a website is designed using a Google site. It intends to empower Pakistani female university students towards mental health without reliant on physical interaction due to widespread prejudice and gender stereotype. Culturally appropriate Open Educational Resources (OERs), Creative Commons licensed videos and podcasts, and other reliable contents are reviewed, filtered and compiled on ‘Depression’.

As a part of the ‘innovative theme’ of the H818 online conference, my presentation will highlight the project rationale and will demonstrate the key features of the website. I will first shed light on the reasons, why I feel this website is the appropriate platform for the target population, and why I consider it as innovative. Moving further, I will brief a website content such as awareness, empowerment, and speak out! Inspirational stories. It will be followed by a few examples of collaborative activities and chat rooms appended within a website. Finally, I will share a testimonial video as a motivational tool. The presentation will be followed by a five minutes question and answer session. 

A multimedia tour of the website is available at 

Keywords: Mental health, well-being, depression, open education, innovation, open educational resources, a multimedia object, female learners, Pakistan


Ahmed, B., Faaiz Enam, S., Iqbal, Z., Murtaza, G. and Bashir, S. (2016). Depression and anxiety: a snapshot of the situation in Pakistan. International Journal of Neuroscience and Behavioral Science, [online] 4(2). Available at: [Accessed 6 Jan. 2019].

Ali, N., McLachlan, N., Kanwar, S. and Randhawa, G. (2016). Pakistani young people’s views on barriers to accessing mental health services. International Journal of Culture and Mental Health, [online] 10(1), pp.33-43. Available at:'s_views_on_barriers_to_accessing_mental_health_services/download [Accessed 31 Dec. 2018].

Damani, S. (2018). Mental Illness in Pakistan: A Subject of Stigma, Ridicule, and Cultural Insensitivity. [Blog] Journal of Pioneering Medical Sciences Blogs. Available at: [Accessed 30 Dec. 2018].

Ghayas, S., Shamim, S., Anjum, F. and Hussain, M. (2014). Prevalence and severity of depression among undergraduate students in Karachi, Pakistan: a cross sectional study. Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, [online] 13(10), p.1733. Available at: [Accessed 26 Dec. 2018].

Gull Tarar, M. and Pulla, V. (2014). Patriarchy, Gender Violence and Poverty amongst Pakistani Women: A Social Work Inquiry. International Journal of Social Work and Human Services Practice, [online] 2(2), pp.56-63. Available at: [Accessed 25 Dec. 2018].

Kazmi, S. (2018). The compromise on mental health. Daily Times. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Dec. 2018].

Knopf, D., Park, M. and Mulye, T. (2008). The Mental Health of Adolescents: A National Profile. [online] San Francisco: National Adolescent Health Information Center. Available at: [Accessed 26 Dec. 2018].

Malik, A. and Aamir, M. (2017). Margalla Papers, [online] pp.61-72. Available at: [Accessed 1 Jan. 2019].

Reynolds, E., Schreiber, W., Geisel, K., MacPherson, L., Ernst, M. and Lejuez, C. (2013). Influence of social stress on risk-taking behavior in adolescents. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, [online] 27(3), pp.272-277. Available at:

Saleem, S., Mahmood, Z. and Naz, M. (2013). Mental Health Problems in University Students: A Prevalence Study. FWU Journal of Social Sciences, [online] 7(2), pp.124-130. Available at: Journal Vol.7, No.2/3.Mental Health Problems in University.pdf [Accessed 29 Dec. 2018].

Sarfraz, H. (2017). Let’s talk about depression. The Express Tribune. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Dec. 2018].

Sohail, S., Syed, A. and Rahman, A. (2017). Mental Health in Pakistan: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. In: H. Minas and M. Lewis, ed., Mental Health in Asia and the Pacific, International and Cultural Psychology. [online] Springer, pp.17-37. Available at: [Accessed 26 Dec. 2018].

Waqas, A., Zubair, M., Ghulam, H., Wajih Ullah, M. and Zubair Tariq, M. (2014). Public stigma associated with mental illnesses in Pakistani university students: a cross sectional survey. PeerJ, [online] 2, p.e698. Available at: [Accessed 3 Jan. 2019].

Yusufzai, A. (2018). Concern over growing mental health problems among youth. Dawn. [online] Available at: [Accessed 27 Dec. 2018].

Abstract is also available at


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Extra content

Would you like to learn more about my website?

Watch this video teaser on Mental Health



Munir Moosa Sadruddin
09:00 on 10 January 2019 (Edited 07:15 on 16 January 2019)

Embedded Content

Abstract on SlideShare

Abstract on SlideShare

added by Munir Moosa Sadruddin

My Profile

My Profile

added by Munir Moosa Sadruddin

Accessiblle Alternate Poster on Slideshare

Accessiblle Alternate Poster on Slideshare

added by Munir Moosa Sadruddin