WILL GOODWIN

Dubai 2020 | HEALTH | INTERVIEW

Social media can lead to living a virtual life, with limited face-to-face interaction, avoidance, and often misconstrued reality. This may lead to mental health-related issues such as depression, loss of individual value, low confidence, and anxiety.

Will Goodwin
BIOGRAPHY

Will Goodwin joined the Priory Group in 2015 and is responsible for leading Priory's education and healthcare market entry into the region. Goodwin has lived in the UAE since 2011 and is based in Dubai. He has a breadth of experience managing large and complex business units in the UK and Middle East. Prior to working with Priory Group, Goodwin led the Middle East healthcare division market entry strategy for Serco. Goodwin sat on the Board of Serco Services in Saudi Arabia and directly managed 600 personnel.

What have been the key drivers for the establishment of The Priory Group in Dubai, and how do your key services fit within the context of the UAE's health system?
As the largest independent provider of mental health services in the UK, we attract many service users worldwide. It was a natural progression for us to look at how we could grow internationally. We chose the UAE because of the ease of establishing a business, its excellent location to serve and support our service users across the GCC, and the dynamic nature of operating here. Our research showed a gap in the provision that we could address. Mental health services are an integral part of any healthcare system, and this is no different in the UAE. We see a fantastic proactive approach from the UAE government toward mental health. In 2018, Dubai launched Happy Lives are Healthy Lives, its first mental health strategy. In November 2018, it was announced that Dubai's mandatory health insurance would cover mental healthcare. The government actively wants to do something about the increase in mental health issues. Additionally, we have engaged with the Emirate's health authorities to talk about mental health. There is a real appetite to implement Dubai's first mental health strategy.

How can social media affect mental health?
Social media can lead to living a virtual life, with limited face-to-face interaction, avoidance, and often misconstrued reality. This may lead to mental health-related issues such as depression, loss of individual value, low confidence, and anxiety. An interesting study on mirror neurons, which help us understand emotions and behaviors, suggests that, with an increased online presence, our mirror neurons are not developing as they should. It is essential to have a balance between time spent online and socially interacting in-person.