Kanzy El Dafrawy, the two-time U-19 World Champion spoke to us about her experience dealing with mental health issues in Egypt. In addition, she has used notable mental techniques to further enhance her training and performance. El-Dafrawy also spoke about her personal experience with therapy in Egypt during a phase in her life where she experienced severe emotional turbulences.

As we called Kanzy, we wanted to see much attention she gave to mental health, as a professional athlete.

For me, mental health is everything. My sport is all mental. Squash is 80% mental, 20% physical. If I am mentally distracted then insa. It’s over. Mabda2eyan, the whole week before my tournament I prepare myself mentally. I eat the same thing at lunch dinner and breakfast. I train my mind to get used to everything. That week before my tournament I act exactly as I would before the tournament.

I act like I’m in a tournament a whole week before so I’m not in shock during the stress of the tournament. I have to meditate before my matches. Kaman I Visualize 30 minutes before the match. I always reflect before each game.

Kanzy’s Use of Mental Training Techniques in Sports

Moreover, the most interesting thing about our call was that Kenzy learned all her mental techniques from her experience living abroad, in the States, where she was introduced to mental training.

Upon asking her to comment about the topic of mental health and youth in Egypt, her answer was very short and concise:

Mafeesh haga ismaha meditation f masr aw visualizition. Fel reyada f masr they care a lot more about physicality than your mind.

Mish moshkila. Mawit nafsik. Katar min da w hatit7asin…

Heya mashya kidda.

Perhaps it really is time to shift more focus towards the mental needs of our athletes alongside our youth. It must be obvious by now that Kenzy’s strong argument stems from her competitive edge, a great state of mental wellbeing, which in turn, fuels her optimum performance results.

Dafrawy’s Take on Mental Health in Egypt

Furthermore, Dafrawy commented about how young adults suffer from mental health issues in Egypt. She was very direct to state that she saw multiple of therapists in Egypt after passing through quite some terrible experiences. 

I was going to a psychologist. I was going through personal issues. It was looked down upon and no one around me really understood why. Ana itbahdilt to find the right psychologist.

 It took me a long time to find a suitable psychologist who was properly educated and actually qualified to help me. I eventually found that person but it was a foreigner who was in Egypt. 

Psychological Support & Counselling in Egypt

Speaking previously to Mint El Mokadem, the founder of PoleFit Egypt, they both seem to share a similar experience with regards to therapy in Egypt. It must be obvious that by now, we must ensure places offering therapy to have a strict governing regulatory board monitoring the practice, in order to set a benchmark within the practicing field, ruling out unacceptable behaviour from practitioners.

This is the only way to set a benchmark to the standard counselling service in the country, ensuring psychological therapies carried out are executed with real confidentiality.

Kanzy commented on the inadequate psychological support young adults have, stating what needs to be done in order to raise more awareness on mental health.

We don’t have anything against tackling that misconception of therapists and psychologists.

No one understood me.

I don’t blame parent’s saying psychologists are crazy.

I found most to not be educated well. They don’t think outside the box. They can’t focus on problems they haven’t experienced or that might irrelevant to them.

With me they didn’t try to understand the meaning, or why.

Overall, mental health in Egypt does indeed need a long way to go to become anywhere near the services found in western countries. Kanzy’s persistence in researching to find her right fit is exactly how she recommends youth, athletes or simply any Egyptian struggling to reach out for help.


Kanzy’s Advice to Youth Struggling to Reach Out for Help

I think going to a local psychologist can lead to serious consequences. If you choose to go to a local psychologist make sure it’s the completely right person for you. I recommend a ton of research and take it from there. That way, you’re much better off.