Kathmandu, 13 March 2010:
One day seminar and workshop on “Psychological & Social Issues & Mental Health” was successfully conducted by Central Department of Psychology, Nepalese Psychological Association (NPA) and Nepal Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Research Center (NSPMHRC) at Pension Vasana Hotel on 29 Falgun , 13 March 2010, Saturday. The programme consisted of 3 sessions: inaugural session, paper & poster presentations and the workshop. Ms. Minerua Jonchhe hosted the programme.
In the inaugural session, Prem Pariyar, chairman, NSPMHRC welcomed the guests and all the participants. The chief guest was Mr. Khadka Bahadur Basyal Sarki, State Minister of Health and Population. The programme was formally inaugurated with Panas lightening and Khada garlanding to the guests. Dr. Shanta Nirauala, Gen. Secretary, NPA highlighted upon the objectives and goals of the programme. The addresses by distinguished guests followed which included Mr. Sarki (State Minister), Dr. Karuna Want, Bhola Dahal, Prof. MP Regmi, Prof. AB Shrestha, Prof. Navraj Kadel. The session closed after Dr. Shishir Subba, President of NPA expressed vote of thanks and closing remarks.
The addresses were pretty long than allocated time. I felt like these kinds of program happen very few times so, the speakers take this chance to express a lot as much as they would like to.
In the second session, there were paper presentations by: Sabitri Sthapit on ‘Menstrual experience and literate mothers’, Usha Kiran on ‘Cultural Notion of depression in Nepal’, Prem Pariyar on ‘Suicide situation in Nepal’, Madan Rimal on ‘Role of locus of control and self-esteem in prosocial behavior’, Nar Bd. Thapa on ‘Social exclusion and its effects on psychosocial well-being among the caste and ethnic groups in Nepal’ and Narayan Pd. Sharma on ‘Case study on suicidal burn patients at bir hospital, kathmandu’ respectively.
The poster presentations followed in the same session which included posters by Dr. Shanta Nirauala, Kabita Khati, Khem Bhatta, Goma Khatri, Hasahana Shrestha and Lila Khanal, Sandesh Dhakal, Dr. Bharati Ahikari, Dr. Rita Shrestha, Sanjesh Shrestha and Sujen Man Maharjan. There were 10 posters presented in the seminar. people were not very interested in the posters as the organizers did not give much importance to it i think because there were no proper places to put the posters and the interaction was very low. posters were somewhere and the presenters were elsewhere. i sat next to my poster and waited for the interaction but not much. One of my teachers joked, “Look romantic love is so dangerous..suicide..depression..tension…so, even if you fall in love, dont get married.” We laughed together!
The presentations were okay. Some powerpoint presentations were crowded with texts rather than the bullet points that would facilitate the presentation. These softwares are just the visual aids to our presentations; they don’t do much by themselves. I also remembered a quote Paulo Coelho recently tweeted, “Powerpoint is killing presentations. Usually used by people who have neither power nor point.” during the somewhere in the middle of the presentations. There were many things to improve in our presentations, I was glad that we were on the way of practicing all these so that we could do better in future. There were spelling mistakes in the slides but I liked it, by mistakes we learn. Some presenters looked very naïve as if they have not done many presentations before.
After the presentations were over, the floor was open for the question and answer session. I asked few questions to one of the presenters. I did not get the satisfactory answer but the interaction went well. Afterwards, one of the participants commented that I asked a question which was not very important. At that point, I felt surprised. I asked myself why are we so reluctant to ask questions and interact. These interactions benefit the presenter/researcher the most because an audience has a different perspective which is extremely insightful at times. Those comments should be taken as feedback rather than a criticism.
There was a special presentation by Dr. Subba on ‘Mental Health situation and psychosocial counseling in Nepal’ prior to the workshop. Well, after this presentation, I realized it was not CVICT which trained the first counselors in Nepal. It was Richmond program at TU in 1991 which first conducted the counseling training course in Nepal. Counselors are still lacking in Nepal but the bigger problem is that there is no proper curriculum to train new manpower adequately. At the same time, there is also the problems of cultural adaptation and acceptance of new concepts like counseling which have been imported from West.
The workshop focused upon 2 major questions: how can psychology help in reducing mental health problems? And how can academic psychology contribute in the development sector of Nepal? The participants were divided into different groups and in the end, they presented their ideas on the themes.
There was massive participation in the program which included over 120 people. The hall was full of people and this was a good sign of support towards this kind of program.
The programme closed with the distribution of certificates for paper presenters, poster presenters and participants.
At first, I thought there were going to be very few poster presentations but there were 10 in total including mine. My poster presentation was confirmed just 3 days before the seminar so, I had to work hard to make a poster. I was glad that I presented the poster in a standard format, nicely arranged.
According to Dr. Shishir Subba, President of Nepalese Psychological Association (NPA), it plans to organize a national level conference in the next few months and has opened membership to people interested to become a part of NPA. I was surprised not to find the logo of NPA anywhere, not in the banner or elsewhere. I am wondering how does it look like! Well, that is not very important but I think maybe the logo is lost or what??