Organised by the Department of Commerce (UG and PG) in collaboration with IQAC August 20 2020 (5.00 pm to 7.00 pm) Resource Persons Ms. Malini Sarkar (Director, Reach Counselling and Consulting Services, Kolkata) Dr.Arvind Nongpiur (Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry NEIGRIHMS, Shillong) Mr.Varun Kaul(Counselling Psychologist and Motivational Trainer, Bangaluru) Dr.Amlan Kusum Jana (Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, KPC Medical College, Kolkata) A National Webinar on “The Value of Conversation in Ending Stigma Attached to Mental Health” was organised on August 20, 2020 (Thursday) from 5.00 pm to 7.00 pm by the Department of Commerce, (UG and PG) in collaboration with IQAC of The Bhawanipur Education Society on Google Meet. The faculty of our college as well as faculty of other colleges, students and people from various walks of life participated in the webinar. The speakers were distinguished psychiatrists and psychologists from all over India. They enlightened the audience with the stigma related to mental illness, depression, counselling procedures and ways to overcome these problems and enhance wellbeing. Arundhati Mazumder, convenor of the webinar, welcomed the guests; followed by an opening address by Saspo Chakraborty (HOD, Commerce, Afternoon and Evening). Watch the Webinar The first speaker, Ms. Malini Sarkar delivered an insightful lecture on what stigma are, consequences of stigma, and how to reduce stigma, depression, anxiety. She emphasised on how awareness about the problems of mental illness, including substance use disorders etc. help reduce stigma. The speaker advised the parents and the teachers of how to build positive mental health in children. The lecture enlightened the participants on the warning signs of mental illness and the ways of handling patients of mental illness. The second resource person was Dr. Arvind Nongpiur whose discourse was on the three conceptual levels of stigma, origin and consequences of stigma, people’s understanding of mental health, people’s attitude towards those affected and what people feel about the sufferers. He also discussed about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, untreated depression, epilepsy and misconceptions about epilepsy were highlighted. The vision of Schizophrenia in 2030 as to how strategic prevention and cure therapeutics can prevent schizophrenia was also discussed in the session. He described how conversation strategy works for the mental sufferers and concluded that despite years of study, stigma in mental health still exists, but effective treatment availability has altered the course of many mental disorders including recovery from these illnesses. The third erudite speaker, Mr.Varun Kaul started the conversation on a very positive note and apprised the participants on what is counselling therapy, need for such therapy and the myths associated with counselling. The discourse touched the effect of pandemic and mental health. Problems and stress of work from home for the teachers during the pandemic were discussed and advice on how to care for oneself especially during these trying times of the pandemic was elucidated during the highly motivating speech. The final resource person Dr. Amlan Kusum Jana began the discussion with how even the globally famous personalities have not been spared from being labelled for their sexual orientation, in-spite of their high achievements in the professional fields. Different types of stigma, perception about stigma and the need for opening up or communications were discussed. He pointed out how a network of social support can improve the condition of the mental sufferer and the first step towards it is emotional support to the sufferer. He cited examples of celebrities and famous people like Johnny Depp, who had sought the help of professionals during the teenage and was successful in overcoming his mental issues and became a very successful actor and later on became a brand ambassador for overcoming the mental issues. In this context, famous personalities like Virginia Wolf, Sushant Singh Rajput’s cases were discussed and emphasized how communications with others could have helped save their lives. The Question and Answer session was conducted by Arundhati Mazumder, where queries of participants were addressed by the resource persons. The session concluded with a warm and graceful Vote of Thanks by Paramita Chakravarty, There were around one-hundred and twenty interactive participants who were enlightened by these valuable discourses.