Three LAMIC registrants were presented with Early Career Travel Award Scholarships to attend the Congress:
Vandita Shanbhag from India
Tesera Bitew from Ethiopia
nmez from Turkey
They shared their experiences from the Congress
Dr. Ekin Sönmez, Department of Neuropsychiatry, Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey
Those who attended the IAWMH 2019 Congress had the opportunity to meet and interact with the over 600 participants of the Congress from 52 countries.
The first day of the Congress has covered a wide range of interesting topics from basic science to translational medicine and to social aspects related to women’s mental health. Also remarkable was the range of posters summarizing studies on first episode psychosis, differential side effects of psychotropic medications, understanding IPV and intervention techniques on different levels, among others. Seemingly, there might at some point occur some controversies, yet this makes women’s mental health even more challenging-in a positive way.
These indicate that the IAWMH 2019 Congress has many things to offer for professionals with various specializations, and therefore, opens up a space for collaboration across disciplines. In my opinion, one of the main characteristics of this Congress is that it’s focus on women’s mental health and the warm atmosphere provided, which facilitates communication and collaboration among participants. Hopefully, a number of partner associations that contributed to the Congress with their joint symposia and workshops will help to promote IAWMH and its work in different settings.
Dr Vandita Shanbhag, Postdoctoral Fellow in Women’s Mental Health, NIMHANS, India
Report on Day 1 - 05.03.2019, Tuesday.
The Congress began by a warm welcome address by President Jayashri Kulkarni. President Elect Prof Florence Thibaut highlighted the key points and unique features of this congress. The much awaited moment finally arrived when I was awarded the “Early Career Travel Award” by my mentor Prof Prabha Chandra and Prof Nine Glangeaud.
The scientific program started with an outstanding presentation on
Pathway to Suicidal Behaviour in Women
by Maria Oquendo, USA. She highlighted how impulsive suicidal thoughts and sustained suicidal thoughts had different trajectories and contributing factors.
Listening to the cello and the brilliant female lead singer in the musical band left me mesmerised. I enjoyed her rendition of La vie en rose and hummed the tune all evening. The evening allowed an excellent opportunity to interact with my peers over cocktails and desserts and gain insights into their work.
Report on Day 2 - 06.03.2019, Wednesday.
The morning began with an interesting discussion on use of SSRI in pregnancy by Inger Schweitzer. She highlighted the how relapse rates were atleast as high as 12% in women who discontinued SSRI during pregnancy. The session also covered how infant characteristics such as irritability, difficult temperament played a causal on postpartum depression.
Key Note on Sex and Depression: This is Your Brain on Steroids. Prof Rubinow captivated his audience right from the beginning with his wit and charm. Through his presentation, he took us on a journey from the synthesis of neurosteroids to the implications of these hormones in depression. The role of oestrogen in inducing synaptic connections and depression was discussed.
The session on Intimate partner violence (IPV) towards women chaired by Marc Roelands- Antwerp- Belgium highlighted on the psychological characteristics of perpetrators and their contribution to IPV. Audrey highlighted how empathy, impulsivity and verbal skills in males impact perpetration of violence in a very lucid way. The speakers outlined how feminist theory, neurobiological theories of trauma and attachment theory – explained IPV perpetration. The session concluded by highlighting the societal, neurobiological and psychological heterogeneity and need for tailoring interventions to individual needs.
In a very exciting session chaired by Prof Ian Brockington, I had the delight to listen to speakers from various parts of the world such as US, UK, France and Greece share their work involving perinatal mental illnesses. Particularly interesting was obsessive symptoms and their impact on the maternal-infant bond and development of the baby.
I had this fantastic opportunity to hear Prof Helen Hermann’s plenary talk where she highlighted the challenges of social adversity and clinical care. She narrated examples from my motherland, India where mental health was incorporated in primary health care to improve outreach in a resource sparse country. The evening concluded with talks by stalwarts in psychiatry like Prof Prabha Chandra and Vivette Glover.
I. t was a well spent, stimulating day and I felt thankful for being given this opportunity to meet, interact and learn from leaders in women’s mental health all over the world.