Visualising Mental Health in the Middle East

Trends / Wellness
Maxine Ihezie
Apr 21, 2021
Middle Eastern Pharma and Healthcare companies have an opportunity to show open expressions of mental health in their visual communications. Despite figures suggesting that nearly a third of the population suffer from depression or stress, there is not widespread discussion around mental health in the Middle East. The United Nations (UN) has warned of a mental health crisis due to the pandemic which suggests that now is the time to address the issue.

Our Visual GPS research has shown that nearly all consumers believe it is important to talk about mental health ‑ yet downloads relating to mental health content by Middle Eastern Pharma and Healthcare brands have decreased in the past 5 years. Representation has shifted from conceptual visualisations to real‑world settings of isolation. Five years ago, the overriding trend was conceptual visuals of mental health, such as the brain. The brain was used symbolically to make links to serotonin and dopamine—chemicals strongly linked to mental health. However, in the last year, there has been a shift to showing lonely people of all ages looking solemnly out a window. The rise of this content is reflective of the impact of Covid‑19 lockdown.

On a positive note, our Middle Eastern Pharma and Healthcare customers are equally representing gender in their mental health downloads, unlike other EMEA healthcare brands.
In a world of increasing uncertainty, there is a great urgency to raise mental health awareness. Middle Eastern Pharma and Healthcare brands can help normalise the conversation about mental health through education and empathy, free from judgement and stereotypes.

Bring mental health to the forefront by being inclusive and showing a myriad of wellness outlets. Show the daily pleasures and escapism that boost mental wellbeing. This can be physically distanced socialising with loved ones, IRL or virtually, through prayer, being at one with nature (both indoors and outdoors), cooking up a hearty meal or engaging in creative hobbies.
Show the little pleasures in life—they go a long way to make customers feel included.
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