Guest Blog: Zehen Global Brings Mental Healthcare to the Virtual Space
As part of PRMS’ ongoing commitment to behavioral health, we are pleased to feature Dr. Najmun Riyaz, founder of Zehen Global LLC, as a guest blogger this month. Dr. Riyaz is a board-certified psychiatrist and past consultation and liaison psychiatrist at the Rowan School of Medicine; ran a partial program at Jefferson Health, in Cherry Hill, NJ; and served as a Medical Director at a geriatric facility in Pemberton, NJ. Dr. Riyaz shares Zehen Global’s mission and successes as a virtual telepsychiatry practice.
Zehen Global LLC is a virtual telepsychiatry practice founded by Dr. Najmun Riyaz, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist in New Jersey. After watching the plight of her colleagues, parents, and so many others experiencing enormous mental health challenges during the pandemic, and having herself survived the adversity of growing up in politically conflict-ridden Kashmir in northern India, she left her hospital job as an attending psychiatrist and started coaching healthcare and frontline workers.
Dr. Riyaz saw how people in Kashmir were not acknowledging the enormous anxiety and depression that the pandemic created, and because of the stigma on mental illness and the dearth of resources, she turned to social media. As someone who raised awareness of the harmful effects of social media through local talks and videos, she also saw how social media had enormous benefits – especially in times of social isolation during COVID-19.
From her home basement office, Dr. Riyaz started recording podcasts and videos about mental health, what it means, common psychiatric conditions, and how important it is to seek help. She stresses both the disease model of psychiatric illness, as well as how social, cultural, and psychological factors play a role in such.
To reach those in Kashmir, Dr. Riyaz used YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, and named the campaign Zehen Kashmir – Zehen meaning “Mind” in Persian. It now has grown in just under nine months into a robust community of almost 17,000 Instagram followers who actively engage and appreciate her content. Dr. Riyaz teaches followers about emotional intelligence and the effects of trauma, and shares a resources section for local mental health professionals, as well as hotline numbers where people can seek help. Local therapists and psychiatrists have been interviewed on the page to further raise awareness and break the stigma on mental illness. The YouTube channel has also grown from a few followers to 1,000 listeners – a big deal in Kashmir! Dr. Riyaz feels pride in the fact that while she may not have completely achieved her goal yet, her initiative is making a difference in many individuals lives in an area where people do not use the word "mental illness," talk about it, or seek counseling.
Dr. Riyaz converted her psychiatry practice in New Jersey, where she had been for the last 14 years, into a virtual practice called Zehen Global, Its mission is to provide quality holistic psychiatric care to residents of New Jersey, both in network and out of network, and to create a similar impact worldwide in the English language, using social media to break the stigma on mental health. She also has a small part-time coaching practice for women in the workforce, especially those in the healthcare and technology fields.
Through audio visuals, videos, blogs, podcasts, and other pertinent content, Dr. Riyaz hopes to empower people and encourage them to seek help for their emotions and their mental well-being just as they do for their physical health. Her goal is to hold webinars and workshops in local communities to teach stress management, emotional intelligence, and the value of mindfulness. To learn more about Dr. Riyaz’s work and Zehen Global, visit https://zehenglobalpsych.com.
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