Action Against Hunger’s Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) team engages with local community based organisations (CBOs) by training their members on MHPSS practices through awareness raising and other support modalities. This approach helps to reduce stigma and improve acceptance of mental health related challenges in the broader community.
One of the women engaged in this project is Ameera, the director of Our Step, “Kutwitna,” a local non-profit organisation based in Zarqa which provides support and advocacy for beneficiaries presenting with MHPSS needs around Jordan. Ameera explained that through her work, “I was able to discover that I had a psychological disability and because of this, my life was turned upside down before I gained self-independence and entered the working field.”
As Ameera relayed her story, she mentioned initially not knowing that she could be living with a mental health disorder; she just knew that something was wrong. “I knew I needed someone to stand by my side and help me because at this stage, I could not even help myself,” said Ameera with tears in her eyes as she recalled her experience.
However, people did not take kindly to her struggles. “People would tell me that I was cursed or that people targeted me with negative or malicious intentions,” said Ameera. Even though she felt depressed and sometimes had suicidal thoughts, Ameera had a change of heart. She knew that she had enough of suffering and she had to change the way she was living. “This made me step back and refocus my thinking,” she said. “It is extremely important to acknowledge and confront your demons,” said Ameera, “I am not ashamed to talk about it in public,” Ameera said with pride.
Ameera was thrilled when she participated in workshops and trainings hosted by Action Against Hunger, including being a speaker at a World Mental Health Day event held in Irbid in 2019. “It is always wonderful to meet others who are striving and believe in what I am working towards,” Ameera exclaimed.
Ameera is viewed as a role model and as a woman who gives a voice to the voiceless. The journey she took through the work that she is achieving at Our Step has changed her life. She is now part of the Committee for Mental Health in Jordan and has become an advocate for such an important cause.