The virtual conference titled 'Mind the Gap: Contemporary Topics in Mental Health' has taken place recently with an aim to promote research, innovation, and best practices in the field of mental healthcare.
The conference held from 9-10 September.
Mental healthcare solutions provider Moner Bondhu organized the conference with the support of Eastern Bank Limited, EMK Center, and Youth Co:Lab.
The objectives of the conference were to encourage people to generate more conversation on the importance of mental health and wellbeing at the policy level and to remove the stigma around mental health, said a press release.
On the first day of the conference, a virtual inauguration ceremony was held.
The inauguration ceremony was joined by Bangladesh's Education Minister Dr. Dipu Moni, MP, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R. Miller, US Professor and UNDP's Programme Specialist from the Regional Hub of Bangkok Beniam Gebrezghi.
Among other guests, there were: Dr. Norman Sartorius, President, Association for the Improvement of Mental Health Programmes (AMH), Professor Dr. Vikram Patel, Harvard Medical School, Dr. Helal Uddin Ahmed, Associate Professor, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and Tawhida Shiropa, Founder and CEO of Moner Bondhu.
As the chief guest of the ceremony, Dr. Dipu Moni said, "There is a hesitation among people to talk about their mental health problems due to the fear that they will be judged, and everyone including the family members sees it as a trivial matter."
She urged everyone to treat the issue with importance.
In his speech as the special guest, Ambassador Miller said, "With our shared vision and passion for promoting mental health, let us commit to developing and delivering effective mental healthcare solutions globally. Our joint efforts can deliver accessible and affordable mental health support to everyone."
The conference had a total of seven sessions that covered different aspects of mental health from signs and symptoms of different mental health conditions to the digitalization of mental healthcare.
The first session on Understanding Mental Health: Signs and Symptoms of Mental Health Conditions and Best Practice, had Dr. Dahrav Shah, India, and Dr. Erik Kucera as speakers. During the session, Mr. Asif Uddin Ahmed, Acting Director of EMK Center presented Moner Bondhu's findings on signs and symptoms of youth during pandemics.
This research was jointly conducted by Moner Bondhu and EMK Center.
The conference ended with a closing ceremony on September 10 with several distinguished guests such as Professor Dr. Holly C. Wilcox from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, World Health Organization's National Professional Officer Dr. Mahfuzul Huq, noted cultural activist and actor Iresh Zaker, Eastern Bank Limited's Deputy Managing Director M. Khorshed Anowar, and Founder and CEO of Moner Bondhu, Tawhida Shiropa.
On behalf of Moner Bondhu, Tawhida Shiropa urged the stakeholders to work on developing a national and international framework for the mental healthcare system and to launch a global campaign calling out for collaborative action and cooperation.