In June 2022, I got an opportunity to present one of the best research projects of Pakistan Institute of Living and Learning (PILL) at the European Association of Psychosomatic Medicine (EAPM) annual conference. EAPM aims to bring together experts in psychosomatic medicine to share knowledge and develop and strengthen networks and partnerships to advance the field.

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PILL got successful in presenting seven different innovative research projects such as tobacco use in depressed mothers of young children, effectiveness of an integerated parenting intervention (learning through Play Plus) for depressed fathers of young children in Pakistan, evidence on using technology to deliver the Learning through Play Plus intervention for depressed mothers, capacity building of prison staff in identifying mental health problems and offering mental health first aid, adaptation of the World Health Organization intervention guide (mhGAP-IG) for primary care workers in Pakistan and psychological comorbidity of heart disease.

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I presented a poster highlighting the patient and public involvement and engagement for cultural adaptation of a suicide prevention program at Hofburg Palace, Vienna on 9th June 2022. A lot of effort has gone into the successful completion of this project during the COVID-19 pandemic to engage with schools, students, teachers, parents, and health professionals for prevention of self-harm and suicide in school settings. This was the first time in my career that I experienced different emotions at the same time, I was nervous, I was excited, and I was feeling proud of myself and PILL for doing this work of huge public health importance. More than 50 countries participated in this conference and as it was a poster presentation, I got a chance to meet many researchers around the globe and to speak to them regarding our work.

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Suicide is a major health concern for all ages worldwide, so prevention got an important place in the mental health field. During the poster display, I found that researchers were interested to know more about the content of the interventions and efficacy of this preventive programme.

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During our stay in Vienna, we also visited Sigmund Freud Museum. It is said that Freud lived here for 47 years of his life. His great work, “The Interpretation of Dreams“, “Five Lectures on Psychoanalysis”, “The Ego and the Id” and many others were created here and now this place is known as the birthplace of psychoanalysis. The museum gives a good insight into the development of Freud’s theories and his family life. During the visit, we came to know that a lecture on Freud’s work is going on in the library so we have decided to attend it. Dr. Ranjana Khanna was delivering her lecture on “Thoughts for the Time on War and Death” which elaborates how the experience of mass death shifts one’s understanding of individual death and vice versa.

Sehrish Irshad

Research Associate

Written By

Sehrish Irshad

Research Associate