2021 Symposium Theme and Content
The 2021 Wheaton College Symposium in Human Needs and Global Resources will convene leading mental health researchers and practitioners to consider the diverse and significant impacts of COVID-19 on mental health, on mental health services, and on frontline workers, and specifically church leaders and community health workers, who provide care and services to vulnerable populations. The annual Symposium, which is generously sponsored by the John Deere Foundation, will be a collaborative event organized by the Human Needs and Global Resources Program and the School of Psychology, Counseling, and Family Therapy. This joint Symposium will feature medical doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, and church leaders whose work and ministry aims to understand the factors that strengthen human mental health, community well-being, and community health infrastructure, and especially within and among vulnerable populations.
The presentations and workshops planned for the Symposium will explore several timely questions related to global mental health. One important set of questions concerns the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of vulnerable groups and communities. Symposium presenters will draw on their work and research with diverse communities in Asia and North America to describe how the pandemic has affected people with existing mental health illnesses. Other questions that presenters will explore include: What new patterns of mental ill health and vulnerabilities have been generated by the pandemic? What have been the impacts of the pandemic upon mental health services, and especially upon community-based psychosocial support activities? How have frontline workers, including health care workers and faith-based caregivers, been impacted by COVID-19? How have local organizations and agencies that provide mental health care services and psychosocial support adapted their service strategies and practices?
Another thematic focus of the Symposium will be on mental health initiatives that seek to build the capacities of specialists and non-specialists alike to provide psychological services to vulnerable populations. Several Symposium presenters will detail their work with faith-based organizations, including local churches, church denominational networks, and faith-based development and health care organizations, in order to develop novel approaches to mental health care in contexts where health care systems are limited or non-existent.
Plenary lecture (Tuesday, October 12, 6:30-8:00pm, Barrows Auditorium)
Need and Calling: A Story of a Mental Health Movement in India
Dr. Raja Paulraj
Plenary panel (Wednesday, October 13, 4:30-6:00 pm, Barrows Auditorium)
Mental Health in Global Perspective: Research and practice in Hungary, India, and the United States
Panel participants: Drs. Sally Canning, Chuck Liu, Raja Paulraj, and Szabi Török
Moderated by Dr. Mandy Kellums Baraka
Watch the panel here.