About Us

About Us

The GCC's first teletherapy platform!

From the Middle East,
for the Middle East.

The people of the Middle East are proud, passionate, and powerful. But sadly, we have been overlooked when it comes to our mental wellbeing. At least one out of every three people in the Middle East deals with mental health challenges but has historically been unable to seek help. Whether it is through remoteness, inaccessibility, or fear of being cast out, there is a notable lack of resources for our people.

Our mission is to connect people to qualified, bilingual therapists in a convenient and confidential way. Our team speaks your language and understands your culture – we’ve lived here our entire lives. To combat worries about privacy, all sessions and conversations with therapists are 100% secure and confidential, as we are HIPAA compliant.

Ayadi was created by passionate people who want to make a difference in our culture. We set out to change this narrative. Whether you’re interested in seeking help or want to join our team of therapists who offer mental health support, you’ve come to the right place.

Why therapy?

Therapy is a way to empower people to reclaim their lives, to recover from their trauma, to offer support services, and to build people up. Therapy can help us become the best versions of ourselves.

Therapy uses the practice of psychology to make a positive practical impact on societal and personal issues. Therapy is also about learning constantly – about oneself and about others. Ayadi wants to use this medium not only to help individuals, but also to elevate the public’s understanding of, and regard for, the use of psychology in a professional way.

Mental clarity

Emotional healing

Behavioral adjustment

Cognitive work

How does Ayadi work?

Ayadi brings therapy to your fingertips. All you have to do is download the Ayadi app, sign up and get matched with a qualified therapist.

How do you assure confidentiality?

Ayadi guarantees the confidentiality of all conversations that take place between therapists and clients through secure servers and encrypted communications. This  is a critical part of our compliance with the highest standards of HIPAA.

What types of therapy can I go for?

Therapy can come in many different forms – some will work well for you while others may not be as effective. Ayadi has made sure to gather a group of therapists with a diverse background in various types of therapy such as CBT, DBT, EMDR, and many more so that we can help you to find the right fit for your individual needs.

How to get started?

Download Ayadi from the app/play store and sign up for an account. Then get matched and book your first session. In that session, you can agree with your therapist on the number of sessions needed.

A note from the founder

My grandfather chose the name Ayadi, which translates to “helping hands” in Arabic, following his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease. Coming to terms with his diagnosis was life-changing, but the true challenge was finding licensed professionals who could offer support. As a cognitive psychologist, I’ve worked in mental health, yet I could not recommend a local facility for someone I loved. In fact, opening up about mental health in the Middle East is practically unheard of.

As a community, we pride ourselves on helping our neighbours, but when the illness can’t be seen, we fall silent. Our silence has become a global epidemic, and as a community, we must do better. Ayadi offers a secure and confidential platform with a team of certified mental health professionals lending their expertise and understanding.

Our goal is to get people to ask for help and to receive quality healthcare in return. So, if you’ve been feeling stressed, experiencing negative thoughts, or received a diagnosis — let’s talk.

Latifah AlEssa

Meet the team!

The people behind Ayadi

Latifah E.

Co-Founder and CEO

Nazli K.

Care Management

Shoag A.

Research & Comms

Bader S.


Sandra K.

Graphic Design

Carmen B.

People & Culture

Fidaa M.

Customer Care

Michael F.


Read our news and articles

Our latest updates

Bipolar disorder – formerly known as manic depression – is a type of mood disorder that involves intense periods of both depression and mania. Depressive states are marked by symptoms like persistent sadness or low mood, chronic fatigue and loss of interest in daily activities. Manic phases, on the other hand, usually include long bouts of sleeplessness, racing thoughts and compulsive behavior. 

There are two types of this disorder: bipolar I and bipolar II. The difference between the two is that while bipolar I involves full manic episodes, bipolar II may only include less severe, ‘hypomanic’ episodes. Both experience depression. 

Energy is the fundamental feature of bipolar disorder. “When I think of bipolar disorder, I think of it as an illness that involves energy,” says Melvin G. McInnis, MD, Director of the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Program and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. “Individuals with bipolar disorder have energy levels that are going up and down all the time, and sometimes it reaches the point of being an episode of mania, or alternatively, an episode of depression."

Why Routines are Important for Managing Bipolar

One of the main characteristics of bipolar disorder is its tendency to cause impulsivity. This means that during COVID-19, people with bipolar are more likely to behave in ways that could put them at greater risk of contracting or spreading the virus. Severe bipolar episodes can sometimes lead to trips to the emergency room or other places that compromise safety protocol. Bipolar disorder can also cause distraction (including from taking prescribed medication), which is why it’s more important than ever to create and maintain regular routines. 

Needless to say, stay-at-home orders have resulted in significant changes to normal daily life. And while these disruptions – along with new potentials for isolation, relationship conflicts and getting stuck inside our heads – are challenging to anyone, they are even more so for those with bipolar. That’s because maintaining a cadence of normalcy is hugely beneficial for living with this disorder. 

So how can people manage their bipolar during this pandemic? By placing the focus on creating strong, healthy routines – namely in three main areas:

Sleep and Bipolar Disorder: Reestablishing Rhythms

Sleep is fundamental, and sleeplessness is often one of the first signs of a manic episode onset. And while bipolar disorder causes irregular sleep patterns, these can also worsen its symptoms. All of this is made even more challenging by the disturbances COVID-19 causes in our lives, which interfere with the cues our bodies and brains are used to receiving for sleep. 

Schedule changes like working, attending classes and socializing at different times (or perhaps not at all) throw off our body clocks and get in the way of reestablishing circadian rhythms. And that has a serious impact on mood. These challenges can be addressed by: 

  • Waking up around the same time every day. 

  • Avoiding napping during the day, especially in the evening. 

  • Staying away from bright lights, especially blue light, in the evening – use a red light filter for your devices. 

  • Avoiding screen time for one hour before bed – try journaling or winding down with a good book instead.

  • Aiming to get 30 minutes of cardio per day. This has the double benefit of boosting endorphins (feel-good chemicals in your brain) and helping you sleep more restfully at night. 

Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same times every day. Plan waking and sleeping times as close to your natural rhythms as possible to make this easier and optimize your energy throughout the day. 

Daily Schedules: The Key to Staying Balanced

People with bipolar disorder have especially sensitive internal clocks that can more easily lose track of time due to environmental factors. This sets the stage for a manic or depressive episode, which is why it’s important to be vigilant about routines – particularly during periods of additional stress like COVID-19. Establishing a normal schedule is a powerful way to stabilize your body clock. 

Strategies for increasing regularity in your life might include: 

  • Starting your day around the same time every day. This can seem daunting during this time of uncertainty when we’re sometimes not sure what to do with our days, but starting with a simple task like brushing your teeth can help you set things in motion more easily.

  • Trying to spend time outside each day. If this isn’t possible, position yourself so that you’re facing a window during a decent portion of your daylight hours. 

  • Eating dinner at the same time every evening.

  • Staying in regular contact with your therapist – keep them updated on your daily routines, and ask for advice on what to do if you’re not getting enough sleep.

  • Scheduling a manageable amount of activities every day, like calling friends, working out or cooking a healthy meal. 

When talking to your loved ones, try to use more immediate, face-to-face communication methods like video conferencing when possible. These offer even more social benefits, but calls and real-time texts are also rewarding.

How Substance Abuse Affects Bipolar Disorder

Substance use has increased dramatically during COVID-19 as people find themselves pushed further into isolation. People struggling with bipolar disorder are at increased risk for substance abuse, as manic episodes often drive people to reach for drugs or alcohol to calm themselves down. But it’s important to note that any mind-altering substance only serves to further destabilize mood and compound the effects of this complex mental health disorder. 

COVID-19 is also expressed in heart symptoms, and many substances can lead to heart problems – all the more reason to avoid taking that route in this current environment. This includes narcotic medications taken in ways other than those prescribed by your doctor. 

Bipolar Can be Managed, Even in a Pandemic

Despite the challenges COVID-19 poses to us all, it’s important to keep in mind that life in the new normal can be entirely manageable – even for those with bipolar disorder. 

Bipolar sufferer Christina Stiehl says the pandemic came as a shock at first. “Before the pandemic hit, (maintaining my routine) meant getting up early, going to the gym or a fitness class, making a protein shake, getting ready, and taking the subway into the office,” she recalls. “As my schedule and daily life changed completely, it really took a toll on my mental health.” 

But while she was initially anxiety-ridden and even found it difficult to even eat regularly, after the first few weeks passed, she started to find her footing and adapt to her new daily life. She credits live Zoom fitness classes, meal prep and regular walks outside with helping her take charge of her wellbeing again. 

If you’re struggling with bipolar disorder and are finding it challenging to adapt to recent changes, you can find your stride again, too. Ayadi can help. We offer confidential, one-on-one counseling with professional therapists via our convenient app – download it here to connect with a bipolar-specialized therapist today. 
We’ve all experienced sad days when we’ve felt frustrated or defeated. Sadness is a natural part of the human range of emotions. But if these feelings become persistent or oppressive, and disrupt your daily life, they may be a sign of depression.

Depression is a common medical disorder affecting over 264 million people worldwide. It can cause symptoms that interfere with everyday life, from the way you think and feel to your eating habits.

Though there’s a lot of information online about depression, it’s important to note that only mental health professionals should diagnose this disorder. Certified therapists are trained to help those with mild to severe depression, and can help you evaluate your options and create a tailored plan to support you on your journey towards healing. 

Symptoms of Depression

How do I know if I have depression? 

This is a common question for people experiencing depression symptoms. Depression is a complex medical condition involving multiple interacting factors. Speaking with a therapist allows you to determine whether depression is in fact the cause of your symptoms.

These symptoms differ from person to person and can vary in length and severity. They can include: 

  • Prolonged feelings of sadness or emptiness

  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Restlessness and agitation

  • Weight loss or gain

  • Fatigue 

  • Anxiety

You might feel unsure about whether what you’re experiencing is depression, or if you’re just going through a temporary period of the blues. Grief and depression do share similar symptoms, making it difficult to differentiate between the two. Because of the complex nature of depression, it is not recommended to self-diagnose – as tempting as that may sound. A trained mental health therapist can help you pinpoint the cause of your symptoms.

Common Causes of Depression

Depression rarely comes from a single cause. In most cases, depression is the result of a mix of factors, which can include:

  •         Genetics

  •         Biology

  •         Chronic medical conditions

  •         Trauma

  •         Grief

  •         Stressful life events

  •         Medication or substance abuse

How Can Therapy Help with My Depression Symptoms?

A therapist who specializes in depression can help you navigate and manage depression. Therapy sessions offer a chance to talk about how you’re feeling, uncover the causes of your shifts in mood and access strategies for managing depression’s symptoms. Gaining a better understanding of yourself not only helps you understand and overcome depression symptoms, it’s an empowering process in and of itself.

How Do I Talk to My Therapist About Depression?

Finding a therapist you feel comfortable with, and cultivating that relationship, makes a big difference in treatment.

 Before speaking with a therapist, you might have some ideas about who you’re looking for: are you more comfortable speaking to a man or a woman; someone around your age or older? These are some factors to take into consideration when choosing a therapist, to ensure you find the best possible fit. 

Opening up to your therapist can be difficult - but don’t worry, your therapist is experienced at this and will guide the conversation. You might cover topics like:

  • What’s bothering you - worries at work, daily frustration, causes of anxiety

  • Your relationships - the important people in your life, your daily interactions, how you feel around others 

  • Life experiences - past or recent events, how they made you feel 

Ayadi’s therapists are trained to listen with an empathetic ear, creating a safe, nonjudgmental space where you’re free to express yourself.

Types of Depression Help Available

There are different types of psychotherapy for depression, all of which can be effective. You might prefer one over the others - your therapist can help you decide which is best for you. Some examples are: 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This talk therapy is based on the understanding that your thoughts, feelings and actions are connected. CBT with the right therapist can transform the way you think and behave.

Interpersonal Therapy

This therapy focuses on resolving interpersonal issues, addressing your interactions with others while examining social roles.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

A type of CBT, this therapy aims to teach you the skills you need to cope with stress and regulate your emotions. 

There are many more treatment options for depression in addition to these. Understanding what’s available to you will help you discover which approach resonates most.

Trust and Confidentiality Are Key 

It’s important for there to be trust between patients and therapists discussing depression. Protocols such as HIPAA (the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) protect your data and keep your information safe. On top of this, certified mental health therapists must adhere to high standards of client confidentiality in practice, keeping your information safe.

Finding Safe, High-quality Depression Treatment During COVID-19 

Through times of isolation and anxiety, it’s normal for feelings of depression to start appearing. Or, you may have already been experiencing symptoms of depression before strict social distancing and lockdown measures were enforced, and you’re concerned about being able to reach a therapist.

Ayadi allows you to easily connect with professional therapists who specialize in treatment for depression through an app-based platform. This means you can access effective therapy from the comfort of your own home, at any time. 

Download the Ayadi app today to speak with a therapist about treatment for depression, and take the first step towards feeling well!