East West Center for Counselling & Training | Indian Institute of Psychodrama | Magdalene Jeyarathnam | Eric Miller

“Perspectives on Positive Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing through Arts”

 WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY- October 10th 2020

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. World Mental Health Day 2019 – Focus on suicide prevention. According to WHO, in recent years, there has been increasing acknowledgement of the important role mental health plays in achieving global development goals, as illustrated by the inclusion of mental health in the Sustainable Development Goals. Depression is one of the leading causes of disability. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. People with severe mental health conditions die prematurely – as much as two decades early – due to preventable physical conditions. Despite progress in some countries, people with mental health conditions often experience severe human rights violations, discrimination, and stigma. Increased investment is required on all fronts: for mental health awareness to increase understanding and reduce stigma; for efforts to increase access to quality mental health care and effective treatments; and for research to identify new treatments and improve existing treatments for all mental disorders. In 2019, WHO launched the WHO Special Initiative for Mental Health (2019-2023): Universal Health Coverage for Mental Health to ensure access to quality and affordable care for mental health conditions in 12 priority countries to 100 million more people. This year’s World Mental Health Day, on 10 October, comes at a time when our daily lives have changed considerably as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The past months have brought many challenges: for health-care workers, providing care in difficult circumstances, going to work fearful of bringing COVID-19 home with them; for students, adapting to taking classes from home, with little contact with teachers and friends, and anxious about their futures; for workers whose livelihoods are threatened; for the vast number of people caught in poverty or in fragile humanitarian settings with extremely limited protection from COVID-19; and for people with mental health conditions, many experiencing even greater social isolation than before. And this is to say nothing of managing the grief of losing a loved one, sometimes without being able to say goodbye. Given past experience of emergencies, it is expected that the need for mental health and psychosocial support will substantially increase in the coming months and years. This is why the goal of this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign is increased investment in mental health. 

“Perspectives on Positive Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing through Arts”
Hosted by, East West Center for Counseling and Training,

The reason for hosting the session on this particular day is very important, to spread awareness on the importance of Mental Health  and how Art, a creative expression can foster healing and mental well-being. This year’s theme for Mental Health Day is, “Increased investment in Mental Health” the initiative was taken up to invest time the most precious asset of every individual to understand and enrich oneself with knowledge on mental health. The had eminent speakers as panelists,

1) Dr Anbu Durai -Addressed the topic ‘Life – Celebrations of the mind’ Dr. C. Anbudorai Mbbs jipmer pondi1989 Dpm Nimhans blore “91 [MD community med mmc chennai 1996] He is currently working with, The banyan, The Hindu Mission and NIEPMD His past experiences involves, As psychiatrist BEML KGF Karnataka Manipal hospital Bangalore Wisdom Chennai Dr Kamakshi mem Chennai Dr Kamraj hospital Chennai Laxmi nursing home Agash Mindzone Vidyasagar Win or win mental health Manashastra As visiting lecturer tutor In psychiatry, psychology &community medicine for nurses, social workers, occupational &physiotherapists, community worker SRM College Balaji dental college Meenakshi college alapakkam CSIM Apollo College of nursing Thai moogambigai BALM Basic training in, Playback theatre, Psychodrama, Expressive arts therapy, Storytelling , Anthroposophy, Anthropological psychiatry, Applied Buddhist psychology, Cognitive psychology, NLP and Open dialogue.

2) Dr S Janani- consultant psychiatrist completed her MBBS from Vinayaka missions Salem and did her psychiatric medicine from Christian Medical college Vellore. She Practices hypnotherapy extensively and runs her own private establishment, Shraddha dedicated to treating people with mental illnesses in Mandaveli. She addressed the topic ‘There is Nothing Like Mental Health’.

3) Dr Eric Miller – Will be focusing on “Emotional Wellness and Positive Mental Health Through Storytelling” in the session. Dr Eric Miller is a Native New Yorker who has settled in Chennai. He has earned a PhD in Folklore from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Masters degree in Psychology from the University of Madras. Dr Eric co-founded the “World Storytelling Institute” in 2007, and the annual “Chennai Storytelling Festival” in 2013. He directs both. His primary work these days is developing, practicing, and training others in the methods of Storytelling Therapy. Storytelling Therapy methods could also be used for Life Coaching, and for facilitating Personality.

4) Mrs Kumudam Berkin – Shared on the topic ‘Art and its Healing on Me’. She is a German language translator, interpreter and certified trainer. Self taught artist, Classical dancer and modern jazz exponent. Over 12 years of corporate experience in companies such as Ford, HP and cognizant. Mother of two daughters and currently a freelancer. 

The session’s moderator was Ms. Magdalene Jeyarathnam ( Psychodramatist and Expressive arts therapist). She is the founder- director of East West Center for Counselling which is an Expressive arts therapy center providing therapy services to schools, universities and organisations and the Indian Institute of psychodrama which is the first psychodrama training institute in India. Magdalene has more than 25 years of experience in working with addiction, HIV/AIDS and mental health issues, she has worked with several state and central government agencies in India, She has also worked with UNICEF and WHO as consultant on projects. 

The session time- 5.30 pm – 6.30 pm

Order of events :
5:30 – 5:35 – Welcome address by Natalia (Intern from Stella Maris college – Department of Social work)
5:35 – 5:40 – Why mental health day by Keran (Intern from Stella Maris college – Department of Social work)
5:40 – 5:45 – Introduction of moderator and purpose of panel discussion by Johannah( Cousellor EWC)
5:45 – 5:55 – Dr.C.Anbudorai – ‘Life – Celebrations of the mind’
5:55 – 6:05 – Dr.Kumudam – ‘Art and its Healing on Me’
6:05 – 6:15 – Dr.S.Janani – ‘There is Nothing Like Mental Health’
6:15 – 6: 20 – Dr Eric Miller – ‘Emotional Wellness and positive mental health through storytelling’
6:20 – Question and Answer
6:25 – Announcements of some important upcoming Art therapy workshops
6:30 – Vote of thanks by  Keran (Intern from Stella Maris college – Department of Social work).

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