The SAI team traveled to Pakistan this week for a conference cosponsored with the Aman Foundation, held in Karachi from December 16-18, which marked the one year anniversary of the Peshawar school attack. By bringing together various stakeholders in this discussion, the conference aimed to identify existing challenges, best practices, and innovations around mental health relief efforts in the wake of natural and manmade disasters. By recognizing the importance of post-disaster support, the workshop explored the initiatives that can be undertaken to create coping mechanisms for trauma survivors, caregivers and service providers.
Sharmeen Khan, Clinical Psychologist, gave the keynote address at the conference, ‘Coping in the wake of Disasters: Long term Effects of Traumatic life Changing Situations,’ followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Jennifer Leaning, FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights, Harvard T.H. Chan Harvard School of Public Health; Director FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Dr. Ruth Barron, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Director of Outpatient Psychiatry, Cambridge Health Alliance, Dr. Ayesha Mian, Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Agha Khan University, and Dr. Saadia Quraishy, CEO, AMAN Healthcare Services, Karachi.
Sharmeen Khan is a Karachi-based mental health professional and a human rights activist. She has successfully ran various campaigns to provide relief at several disasters from the earthquake of 2005 to the earthquake of 2015, as well as other natural and man-made disasters both in Pakistan and abroad. She spearheaded the Naya Jeevan initiative of providing psychological help to survivors of the Army Public School, Peshawar attack.