Education Conference in Satara and Pune, India.

26th Feb - 2nd March, 2018.

A team of four UK-based psychiatrists, led by CFMH Founder and Chairperson Lady Ghazala Afzal  Hameed, undertook a five-day programme of teaching and training in Satara and Pune in February-March 2018 and in doing so, delivered mental health information to a total of over 200 people

PUNE_2018__01.JPGDr Hameed was joined by Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Neil Brener who was on his fourth CFMH teaching visit to India, as well as Dr Giovanni Giaroli, Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at University College London and Dr Gordana Milavic, Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital.  Both Dr Giaroli and Dr Milavic had taken part in previous teaching in Pune in November 2016.

The visit began with three days of teaching in Satara involving around 100 teachers and non-mental health professionals. Key areas such as recognising when somebody is mentally ill, who to refer them to and when to refer them, as well as psychiatric conditions including depression, bipolar disorder and addiction were covered. On day two, the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists held a clinic with six children who had been identified through a training camp for teachers held in December 2017 by the team at the Sassoon Hospital. The children had epilepsy and learning difficulties and a significant outcome from the sessions in Satara was that the teachers now understand that these conditions are very different to psychiatric disorders.PUNE_2018__03.JPG

The team then moved on to Pune for two days of workshops delivered to an audience of doctors and mental health professionals. While the first day included overviews on taking a mental state history, depression and psychoses, a grand round also took place in which the UK psychiatrists discussed specific cases that were presented to them by some of the attendees.  Topics covered on the second day included adult anxiety disorders, addictions and talking therapies and the mixed group of mental health professionals in attendance found the teaching very useful.

Commenting on the experience of the teaching week, Dr Milavic said: “Having such a large and eager audience of teachers who visibly responded to what we were doing was the high point of our visit. The women in particular seemed emboldened and started asking questions as the teaching went on.  It was revealing to see some of the patients the organisers had selected for us and the four of us worked well as a team which wasPUNE_2018__02.JPG crucial in conveying our message. We were flexible and readily adapted to what was being asked of us.”

And as for Dr Giaroli, “our teaching aimed to provide an evidence-based and de-stigmatising approach to mental illness. The most rewarding moment of the visit was offering a second opinion to children in Satara, who were mainly adolescents with severe learning disabilities, epilepsy and behavioural difficulties. I was astounded by the generosity of their smiles and the gratitude of their few words and opinions.”

“This was a hard-working visit with a lot of teaching which was immensely rewarding”, said Dr Brener. “The most rewarding part of the trip for me was watching the teachers really start to engage in the programme and ask more and more questions. Clearly, this is going to make a difference to the way they teach and assess children. The sea of saris turned into a sea of smiles.”

Looking ahead to a return visit in 2019, the team hopes to tailor the next workshop programme for maximum effect to specific audiences. It will also be a priority to carry out formal evaluation so that the teaching can be refined and improved over time.

Education Conference in Pune Concern for Mental Health, IndiaEducation Conference in Pune Concern for Mental Health, India
Education Conference in Pune Concern for Mental Health, IndiaEducation Conference in Pune Concern for Mental Health, India