School of Creative Arts (SOCA) took initiative to create awareness among students, faculty, staff members and the general public about mental health and the role of media. This was during the first organized National Symposium on Media and Mental Health, held on May 3, 2018 at University of Lahore’s Main Campus, Defense Road.
The one day event comprehensively discussed media portrayal of mental illness and its effects; media’s role in raising awareness about mental health and the causes of mental illnesses like rape, harassment, bullying, gaming addiction and many more. In Pakistan, mental health appears to be a neglected subject despite the fact that thousands of people are suffering from mental illnesses.
“This initiative would pave way for students to excel within their respective areas of profession.” said Dr. Shahid Soraya, the Director General Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC) who officiated as the Chief Guest.
“I commend School of Creative Arts for initiating such important discussions which broadens awareness on how media should treat mental related cases or stories for coverage,” he said. Dr. Shahid Soraya further observed the need for continuously hold discussions on interdisciplinary perspective on media effects over mental health; mental health in the world of hyper-reality; challenges of media and mental health in the new century; and social media impact on mental health of youth.
The one day symposium was chaired by Prof. Dr. Farah Malik the Director Institute of Allied Health Psychology & Centre for Clinical Psychology from the University of Punjab and co-chaired by Dr. Nosheena Saleem the Director Institute of Communication Studies also from the University of the Punjab.
Dr. Farah Malik explained the difference between now and then media which was followed by Dr. Nosheena Saleem’s address in which she shared tips on how to cope up with mental illnesses and stress management.
While awarding shields to invited guests, Prof. Dr. Kamran Mujahid the UOL Rector, also shared ideas on the symposium’s subject matter.
The symposium’s keynote speakers were Mr. Abdur Rehman Sadaqat, the Addiction Psychologist from Willing Ways Pakistan, Prof. Dr. Naumana Amjadn from UOL’s LSPS and Prof. Dr. Wajeeha Rizvi. The forum also featured documentaries, TVC’s, and short films by SOCA students on mental health in a competition arrangement. Mehroz Raza presented the best TVC titled “Harassment”, whereas Ali Akbar Zaidi had the winning documentary named “Beautiful Minds” and the best short film awarded was “Reflection” by Fahad Hussain.
SOCA Assistant Prof. Shazia Anwer moderated a panel discussion that had Prof. Dr. Ahmad Hanan (HoD UMT) and Prof. Dr. Naumana as experts. The symposium was organized under the guidance of Assistant Prof. Mr. Raza Zaidi (HoD, SOCA) with SOCA lecturers Mr. Basim Mir and Ms. Arooj Arshad as main organizers. Other lecturers on the organizing team were; Mr. Qasier Rafique, Mr. Farrukh Chaudhary, Mr. Mateen Muzaffar, Ms. Rabia Qusien, Ms. Ambreen Shahid and Ms. Khansa Tarar.
Speaking to one of the organizers, Mr. Basim noted that the “symposium provided a platform for presentation of novel research work, education, and promotion of fruitful discussion and collaboration among participants. Top-notch researchers and scholars provided tools and resources to advance and sustain recovery from mental illness due to media and its effects.” This was furthered by Ms. Arooj that “the concept behind this symposium was to bring together many facets of mental health in improving health outcomes for young people with the display of all the exciting work being done around the country”.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Nasir Mahmood the Pro-Rector (Academics) thanked SOCA for hosting the historical symposium and also awarded shields and certificates to students and organizers.