Improving Mental Health through Unified Sports in Pakistan
Maham and Syeda are Special Olympics Youth Leaders from Pakistan who participated in the 2019 Youth for Inclusion Summit in Singapore. Together, Maham and Syeda will lead a Youth Innovation Project aiming to strengthen mental health and wellness in their local community. The pair will address mental health topics for individuals with and without intellectual disabilities (ID) through Unified Sports and education on bullying and isolation. By working with mental health experts, Maham and Syeda hope to reduce bullying and isolation for individuals with and without ID over the internet and in schools. Maham and Syeda will participate in Unified Sports such as swimming, cycling, and yoga to reach their mental health goals, providing their community with the opportunity to make inclusive friendships through sports.
Over the course of a year, Maham and Syeda will collaborate with local mental health professionals to develop workshops and seminars to address mental health issues associated with bullying and isolation. By providing these resources to youth online and in school settings, Maham and Syeda will be able to holistically approach the stigma surrounding intellectual disabilities and mental health. A key aspect of their holistic approach also includes providing individuals with and without ID with the opportunity to improve their mental health through Unified Sports. By participating in Unified Sports, youth can build a network of inclusive friendships within their local community, ultimately reducing isolation and bullying.