As we bid adieu to 2023, its time to look back at the year with thoughtfulness and reflection. Women the world over are dealing with challenges and mental health concerns more than ever before. There are multiple issues to grapple with- the aftermath of the COVID 19 pandemic both for physical and mental health of women, the conflicts in different regions of the world and the overwhelming impact of climate change. To sustain our efforts and hope in the middle of these challenging situations globally needs collaboration and coming together. We also will need to discover newer ways of using social media and technology for the larger good of the mental health of women.
Members of the IAWMH have been active in working locally and using their expertise to discuss problems with key stakeholders, collaborating internationally and finding ways of reaching women who need our help the most. Our online course on psychopharmacology in the perinatal period has also attracted a lot of attention and interest.
The World Psychiatric Congress in Vienna saw the IAWMH membership participating in many symposia, plenaries and workshops. We were authors of several of the position statements in the fields of perinatal mental health and gender based violence. Our leadership had an active role in the conference.
The Inaugural Asia-Pacific Conference on Women's Mental Health (APWMH), hosted by HER Centre Australia in collaboration with IAWMH, took place in Melbourne, Australia in October. Prof. Jayashri Kulkarni, our past president organized this successful conference with the central theme, 'Metamorphosis: Women’s Mental Health Through the Lifespan'.
As we set the stage for our World Congress in 2025 at Bangalore, we are also aware that we need to be visible in different regions of the world. To meet this need, in 2024 we propose to have two meetings that will focus on mental health issues of women in different regions. For the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region where many women are currently facing huge adversities, we plan to have an Online MENA Conclave in the middle of 2024 that will be chaired by Prof. Gihan El Nahas, our Secretary.
The One day South Asian Regional Conclave will be held in Colombo in June, 2024 chaired by Prof. Jayan Mendis from the Kothalawala Defence University, Colombo. We hope that these two regional meetings will pave the way for a wonderful and meaningful gathering of minds in March 2025 in Bangalore, India.
Please look out for information on the above two meetings on our website. Please reach out to us if you want to contribute ideas for any of our upcoming conferences.
Wishing everyone a healthy, peaceful and gentle 2024!
Prabha S. Chandra MD, FRCPE, FRCPsych, FAMS
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“Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.” Kofi Annan