SRINAGAR: The National Mid-Year Conference of the Indian Association for Social Psychiatry (MID CON IASP 2024) and the Continuing Medical Education (CME) on Competency-Based Medical Education (CBME) jointly organised by the Indian Teachers of Psychiatry (ITOPS) kicked off on April 20th at SKIMS Medical College Bemina, Srinagar. The event, hosted by the Department of Psychiatry at SKIMS Medical College and Government Medical College, Srinagar (IMHANS-K), witnessed a convergence of esteemed personalities and experts in the field of mental health.

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With the theme “Changing Lifestyle and Mental Health,” the conference aimed to address the burgeoning epidemic of non-communicable diseases such as depression, diabetes, heart diseases, obesity, and other psychiatric illnesses, which are often exacerbated by contemporary lifestyle choices prevalent across societies worldwide.

The inaugural ceremony was graced by distinguished figures including Dr U C Garg, President of IAPS, and Dr Syed Abid Rasheed Shah (IAS), Administrative Secretary of Health and Medical Education & Director SKIMS, Srinagar, JK, who served as the Chief Guest. Dr  Iffat Hassan Shah, Principal of GMC Srinagar/Handwara, and Dr Irfan Robbani, Principal of SKIMS Medical College, were among the notable guests of honor.

In his address, the Chief Guest underscored the significance of adhering to the ABC’s of positive lifestyles: Adequate sleep, Balanced Diet, Connectedness (social), Devotion to Social causes & religious activities, and Exercise, as pivotal measures for preventing mental health issues and alleviating the burden of related diseases in society.

Prior to the main conference, a CME session on CBME was organized by ITOPS in collaboration with the Department of Psychiatry, SKIMS Medical College Bemina, Srinagar. This session aimed to familiarize medical professionals with the new curriculum introduced by the National Medical Council (NMC), emphasizing a more competency and skill-based approach to medical education.

The event featured distinguished speakers and experts such as Prof Pratima Murthy, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore (NIMHANS), and Dr Mushtaq A Margoob, a prominent Mental Health Professional from JK, among others. Renowned researchers and psychiatrists from both national and international institutions contributed their insights, highlighting the importance of a holistic approach to mental health care and the role of healthy lifestyles as preventive measures.

Faculty members, residents, and students from various medical institutions across JK and the rest of India actively participated in the event, aimed at enhancing patient care and fostering a healthier society.

In their closing remarks, Prof Abdul Majid, HOD Psychiatry at SKIMS Medical College, Dr Mohammad Maqbool, Organizing Chairman, and Dr Nizam-ud-Din, Co-organizing Secretary, expressed gratitude to all stakeholders for their contributions to the success of the event, which facilitated fruitful deliberations and knowledge exchange on pressing issues in mental health care.

The conference concluded with a renewed commitment to promoting positive mental health through collective efforts and evidence-based interventions, setting a precedent for future endeavors in the field.

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