Harman Foundation organised first ever seminar on Mental Health and Wellbeing
Harman Foundation organised a seminar on Mental Health and Wellbeing on Saturday, 6th December 2014 at Dennis Johnson Library, Stanhope Gardens. This seminar was attended by about 70 people and its primary focus was to raise awareness on mental health issues, its impact on individuals and families as well where and how to obtain help.
MC, Sarabjit Singh Paul outlined the history of this charitable organisation which was incorporated in September 2013 with an announcement at Gurdwara Sahib, Glenwood; followed by a public launch by Michelle Rowland, Federal Member for Greenway at Bowman Hall, Blacktown in July 2014. This foundation was founded in the memory of Harman Preet Singh. Harman was a pure soul and very passionate to serve the community with his humble nature and actions. He continues to give us the strength to live life with humility, selfless love and gratitude.
Mr Manjinder Singh, President of Harman Foundation, outlined the aims and objectives of foundation which offers support to families who experience grief and loss caused by death or disability caused by accidents or other mishappening. Its purpose is also to raise the awareness on mental health issues related to this grief and loss and promote the values of family and other support structures for management of grief and loss. Harman Foundation also provides financial assistance to families in need through various fund-raising activities. He also thanked Mrs Amrit Versha for her support to Harman’s family in their time of grief which enabled the family to stay strong to ride through the difficult and emotional period.
Mrs Amrit Versha a bona-fide consultant in the community services sector enlightened the participants on trauma which leads to depression and anxiety and is a clinical illness requiring treatment. She elaborated on the organisations which offer support through trauma counselling. She provided an example of an Afghan lady who lost 3 of her children and still returned back to her country to set up a centre which provides support to people who suffer the tragic loss of their loved ones. This lady found new meaning in life by devoting herself to this noble cause. Amrit highlighted the fact that immersing oneself in service and seeking new avenues of addressing these difficult issues help in the recovery of those who are faced with grief and loss.
Dr Lubna Naaz, Consultant Physician at Mackenzie House Specialist Centre, Windsor, studied medicine in India (MBBS 1993) and continued her education and practice, initially in Cardiology andfinally finding her passion in Psychiatry which now she specialises in. She has a Fellowship of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. Besides English, she also speaks Hindi, Urdu and Telugu which was evident in her speech where at times, she reverted to Hindi for the benefit of the audience. Dr Naaz started her speech by reminding that Depression and Anxiety is a clinical illness just like diabetes and other chronic diseases and similarly, needs regular treatment and management. Treatment could include talking therapies and if need be, managed using medical drugs (just as in the case of diabetes). She also explained that Depression and Anxiety is a treatable condition which affects nearly 1 in 4 females, more so than males (1 in 6). She diagnoses the condition using a number of criteria. She listed 9 conditions and if 4 or more exist for a period of 2 weeks or more, then treatment is required. One of these 2 conditions must also exist (Feeling low or down/ Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities). She also explained its impact on the body, why does it happen, the contributing factors, why treatment is necessary and other considerations in overcoming this dreadful illness. The audience applauded her speech which was very well received and as a special offer, she promised to Bulk Bill patients who are members of the Harman Foundation.
Mrs Kalpana Sriram, senior counsellor in Mental health Services led an interactive discussion on what stress is, when does it become a problem, sources of stress, how to manage stress through nutrition, exercise and relaxation. She also shared various resources produced by the Transcultural Mental Health Centre.
Attendees also generously donated $350.00 through raffle tickets for children suffering with mental health issues at Westmead Children’s Hospital
Mr Maninder Singh concluded the seminar by thanking the presenters and participants and also outlined his personal experience of receiving support through the Gurbani of the Sikh Gurus.