Today we have the pleasure of interviewing Mariam Alammadi, a Licensed Bahraini Psychologist. She has been working in the mental health sector for the last eleven years. She has experience in leading an NGO, counseling, project manager, youth leader, psychotherapist, and creating workshops. She is the Founder of The Child & Family Foundation Center (CFC), a psychological center that provides specialized care in psychology counseling.
Mariam’s key interest is breaking the stigma of mental health in Bahrain. She has written for several local and international publications and appeared on the local media to spread this awareness in our community. It is her goal to help the local community seek treatment without fear of stigma and shame.
Mariam is currently involved in a research project with the Ministry of Education, Al Jawhara Hospital, and an esteemed team of colleagues investigating mindfulness practices in public schools (currently on hold due to COVID19). Mariam is also responsible for the Mental Wealth Bahrain Campaign, which helps those who do not have the financial means to gain access to psychological treatment.
She is a psychologist based in Bahrain. She completed her education in Europe and moved to the Middle East ten years ago. Being both Bahraini and Irish has given her great insights into different cultures and societies.
Her Key Involvements have been:
- General Secretary of Middle East Psychological Society (MEPA)
- Founder of Child Foundation Center/CFC Psychology
- Intay Annual Symposium for Women
- Founder & President of Afkarech
- Member of the American Psychological Association (APA)
Some of the Awards & Recognitions received by her:
- IFAH Award Top 50 Healthcare Providers awarded by IFAH Advancements in Health Care, December 2019.
- 2020 Bahrain’s Most Influential Women under the Entrepreneurship Category. Awarded by Businesses in the Gulf, March 2020
- Contributing Author in the published book “Women on Success” edited by Mohammed Isa and published by Dar Akhbar Al Khaleej
- Vestire Woman of 2020 awarded by Vestire & Al Salaam Bahrain, March 2020.
- Top Ten Bahraini Startups by Bahrain AE under the patronage of his Royal Highness the Crown Prince Shaikh Salman Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, November 2019.
- Bahrain Women’s Achiever Award – honored for work in mental health and female empowerment by the Royal Hospital for Women & Children, March 2019.
- Selected and awarded tuition for the Executive Women’s Leadership Program by the RSCI, Dubai 2018.
- Top 50 Health Care Leaders Award 2018, UAE. This was awarded after a stringent assessment and extensive research by the awards committee who rated each applicant on their impact and contribution to healthcare. The only psychologist that was recognized.
- Chosen to represent Bahrain as the only candidate in the prestigious IVLP Program, USA 2011. The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is a professional exchange program funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The exchange brings professional emerging leaders from around the world to the USA for programs.
We had the privilege of interviewing Mariam Alammadi around 7 months ago, We got another opportunity to Interview her again. Let’s start with the Interview.
Our readers would love to know about your journey. Please share that!
I have had an interest in psychology, and from the age of thirteen, I decided I wanted to be a psychologist and not follow the footsteps of my maternal uncles into medicine.
Even at that young age, I knew how difficult it was for people who had a mental health condition, struggled with the diagnosis, and how they were not given the empathy compared to those with a physical illness. That needs to change, and it is a belief I have always had and something I will fight for to the end of my career. During COVID-19, we have all suffered with our mental health; social distancing makes all of us feel isolated and lonely hence increasing our stress & anxiety levels. It has brought conversations about mental health to the forefront, which is where they need to remain. At my psychological center, we didn’t close during this time. We tirelessly worked to ensure people were getting the help they needed.
My focus areas are definitely in the realm of woman empowerment, charitable projects, and psychology. They are my passions in life. There is a famous saying, “Do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life.” However, I have found that when you are passionate about what you do, it is the contrary; you put your blood, sweat, and tears into it. My job can be difficult, it can zap my energy, and often I need to invest in my own self-care (practice what I preach). Still, I am extremely proud of the work I have put into these areas.
We would love to know more about your company – Afkarech.
Afkarech is a female network & think tank and is the first of its kind in Bahrain. We are bringing women together to share ideas and support each other in a safe environment. Afkarech was short-listed as one of the best Voluntary Project in Bahrain by the H.H. Shaikh Issa Bin Ali Al Khalifa Award. Afkarech is making the most difference in the lives of our members. They have made social connections, business connections, found encouragement, found acceptance, found motivation, brainstormed ideas, and become actively involved in charities.
With social distancing, we had to put a lot of our projects on hold; however, as a committee, what is important to us is that everyone stays safe and well. We have tried to compensate for that by hosting several “Afkarech Talks” online, “Queen of Social Distancing Award,” and fun giveaways online to celebrate women.
In relation to our previous project, I am so proud of many of our projects, but the ones that come to mind instantly are “Safee” (my class in English), in which we paid the tuition fees for families of girls that had difficulty paying as a direct impact of losing income due to COVID19. Secondly, the Afkarech Care Boxes we sent out to women who were victims of abuse and living in shelters were these beautiful boxes filled with anything a woman would need if she found herself in a shelter – bathrobes, shampoos/conditioners, hair products, hair ties, creams, shower gels, etc. and a beautiful handwritten letter from a member of Afkarech who packed the box.
What are the strategies that helped you become successful in your journey?
I think I became developed more confidence after university and started to believe in myself more and more. Prior to that, I was waiting to be extremely gifted at something, but I have learned over time that some knowledge about many different subjects takes you very far in life. You have to just start. I believe “where there is a will, there is a way” and I have always experienced that to be true. If you really want something, you keep going after it, and one day you will succeed. Often, we feel like we have to be “overnight successes” when actually success takes hard and consistent work over a long-time frame.
Opening my center, “The Child & Family Foundation Center” was a dream come true. Every entrepreneur knows that start-ups are increasingly hard to make a success, but beyond my own reasons, I knew the center and its services are needed in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Being acknowledged several times by the IFAH and Smart Health Awards is truly an honor and something I could have never predicted. My patients believing in my abilities and trusting me is the reason I go to work every day.
Any message for our readers.
I would just say thank you for allowing me to use this platform to talk about my passions in life, and I hope I have encouraged someone somewhere to pursue a career in psychology. For years, I have been asked what advice I would give to other women, and I truly believe it is just a belief in yourself. There are no rules. Life is what you make it. This applies to every area, whether it is your career or your personal life. Do what you feel is right and what will make you happy.
Fantastic! So tell us, how can people find out more about you?
Thank you so much for giving us your precious time! We wish you the best for your journey ahead!