Conference in Nanjing, China saw participation of 2000 Mental Health Professionals
The 10th National Academic Conference of the Chinese Society of Psychiatry was held in Nanjing from 18th - 21st October, 2012. This conference was organized by the Chinese Medical Association and the Chinese Society of Psychiatry. The conference was attended by 2000 mental health professionals from all over China, making it one of the largest conferences globally to be held this year in the field of mental health. I "Erla Magnusdottir" was lucky to attend it as a representative from BasicNeeds China.
As I arrived to register, I was told that they had run out of information packs and other material because the participation had exceeded their expectations. I took this as a positive sign although it made it slightly trickier to find the sessions that I wanted to attend. Nevertheless, it was very inspiring to observe the scale of the conference with sessions taking place simultaneously in five different lecture halls. Ten years ago (2002), this very conference was attended by only 550 people, thus showing a steep increase in participation. Also taking place at the same time was a large exhibition of pharmaceutical companies - both national and international, many of whom also organized lectures during lunch hours on their newest advances in the field of psychiatry.
Topics covered during the different sessions ranged from general psychiatry, psychiatry for children, psychiatry for the elderly, psychiatry for women, forensic psychiatry, cross-cultural psychiatry, community mental health to psychological crisis and on other related topics. I was inspired by the professionals presenting their research and advocating for further research to be conducted in the field of mental health. I know that in the past, psychiatry has often been frowned upon by the Chinese medical field. I have had medical professionals tell me that only when a person had no other option in medical school would they choose to specialize in psychiatry. I think this is clearly changing, and the professionals presenting were proof of that. They are ambitious and great role models for people who are keen to work in the field of mental health. There is still a huge human resource gap in China in the field of mental health, but hopefully others will be inspired by the great work being done by some dynamic people already working in the field.
Although there is still a long way to go, this conference to me was further proof that there are positive changes taking place in the field of mental health in China. BasicNeeds is committed to being part of this positive change in China in the field of mental health, and we plan to be regular attendees at this yearly conference.