JEDDAH: “As the quarantines persisted, general morale sank, and many of us started to have a negative view of ourselves and our environments,” co-founder Fahad Al-Owaida, a pupil at Abdulaziz International Schools in Riyadh, told Arab News.
Their initial plan was to establish a telephone helpline that young people with suicidal thoughts could call anonymously and talk with a counselor about their problems. When they realized that such services already existed, they switched instead to a social media and web-based approach, but the “Helpline” name stuck.
“So, as victims ourselves, we created ‘helpline.sa’, a mental-health awareness initiative that offered everyone a way to reach out when suffering from mental or emotional stress.”
Although high-school students run the platform, it is not limited to this group. In fact, its founders say the target audience is anyone who needs help or wants to expand their knowledge of mental health issues.
“Our goal is to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health,” said Saleh Al-Zayer, a co-founder and researcher.
“We want to spread information on different topics such as OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), depression, anxiety, and so much more through social media. We also want to remind people that they are not alone.