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Living with a mental disorder doesn't have to be a lonely experience, nor a shameful one, according to a newly formed mental health awareness group, WA3I, Arabic for "awareness".To a lively crowd, current university students and recent graduates shared personal accounts of enduring and overcoming mental illnesses, including: anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and trichotillomania, a disorder involving recurrent urges to pull out hair. The concept for WA3I was spearheaded by Emily O'Dell, visiting professor in AUB's Civilization Studies program. She had previously directed awareness campaigns for the U.S.-based National Alliance on Mental Illness. As of May 2014, The Daily Star reported that the Health Ministry started a National Mental Health Program, which aims to gradually improve access to mental health care in Lebanon by enhancing primary health care system capacity to treat mental illness.AUB instructor of Clinical Psychiatry, Ghina Ismail commended the event, and advised to suspend assumptions and judgments of friends and family members who may have a mental illness.Ismail stressed that the shortage of mental health human resources in Lebanon must be addressed to meet patients needs.
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