Shame and Aberoo: Understanding mental health stigma in the Middle Eastern community

Presenter: Poran Poregbal, MA, RSW, RCC, group therapist, Cross Cultural Clinic, Vancouver General Hospital
Date: Wed., Dec. 6th, 2017, 1-2pm EST


Topic summary:

This webinar focuses on how individuals from Middle Eastern and Farsi-speaking communities may deal with mental health issues and how service providers can help in de-stigmatizing.

As within any society, stigma toward mental illness exists in many Middle Eastern communities. In Middle Eastern communities, however, the concept of aberoo goes beyond stigma; it is a broader and more complex concept that includes the notion of self and a way of thinking that can profoundly affect one’s life. Aberoo can act as a barrier, preventing people from coming forward or accessing the mental health services they need.

In this webinar, Poran Poregbal, MA, RSW, RCC, group therapist, at the Vancouver General Hospital’s Cross Cultural Clinic, discusses the concept of aberoo, its impact on mental illness and mental health treatment and services, and ways that service providers can try to facilitate mental health among newcomer clients experiencing this as a barrier.

Presenter biography

Poran Poregbal, MA, RSW, RCC, is a group therapist, clinical counsellor, public speaker, writer and educator. Poran has professional background and extensive training in the fields of social work, clinical counselling, anthropology, ethnic science, vocational rehabilitation, victim support, conflict resolution, and mediation.

Poran writes several blogs and maintains a website ( in which she tries to promote mental health in Farsi-speaking communities. Her emphasis is on the need for de-stigmatizing mental health services.

Upon graduating from Adler’s School of Professional Counseling, Poran founded GV Counselling and Education Society to follow her long-time passion for providing Farsi-speaking communities with quality mental health care services. Poran offers clinical supervision to professionals in her community. In her role as a clinical counsellor, Poran specializes in trauma and PTSD and works mainly with survivors of sexual abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, anxiety, stress, and grief and loss. She is a two-time award recipient from the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (2011 and 2014), and an award recipient from the West Vancouver Community Awards for Health, Wellness and Activity (2014).

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