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Al-Feel Podcast Features Real Stories of Mental Illness & Resolve

Through a series of podcasts, Al-Feel serves as a platform for real-life stories submitted anonymously by Arabs battling mental illness.

Audiobook and e-book streaming company ‘Storytel MENA’ seeks to narrow the gap in how we deal with mental health through their new project, ‘Al-Feel’.


Through a series of podcasts, Al-Feel serves as a platform for real-life stories submitted anonymously by Arabs battling mental illness. Its name comes from the Arabic word for ‘the elephant’, which itself is derived from the English expression, “The elephant in the room.” In this context, it references the lurking conversations around mental health waiting to be addressed in the Middle East.


“Our internal vision is essentially to make the world a more empathetic place through storytelling,” Sara Rifaat, Al-Feel’s project manager, tells #CairoScene. “My team and I have a personal passion that we channel to sustain this project and tackle destigmatizing mental health in the Arab world. Everyone working on the project has had their experiences with mental health. The past decade has seen the aftermath of various social upheavals and economic collapses. When we looked at the numbers surrounding mental health in the region as a result, we knew something needed to be done.”


Launched in 2021, Al-Feel has been a tumultuous work in progress since 2019. Behind the scenes, Sara’s team sought out a team of researchers, writers, social workers, and professional therapists and psychiatrists that would hold the volunteers’ stories together, while providing credible professional advice from licensed therapists. Professional narrators and directors were also cast to narrate each story and work towards creating the feeling of a ‘virtual session’ between a patient and a psychologist who, despite the distance, could come together in this moment to spark a change.


Addressing various different types of disorders like Bulimia, Schizophrenia, Claustrophobia, Depression, Anxiety, Kleptomania, and Postpartum depression, Storytel MENA has released six episodes for free on their YouTube channel, as well as all podcast platforms, and are offering the rest of the season on the Storytel app.