Seminar on mental health to take place in Harrisburg from June 28


Aimed at addressing mental health issues facing the resettled Bhutanese in the U.S., a regional conference will be held in Harrisburg, PA from June 28-29.

According to its organizers, the “2014 community initiative for mental health and suicide prevention regional conference” is a joint effort of three community-based organizations, Bhutanese Community Organization of Philadelphia, Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh and Bhutanese Community of Harrisburg, in collaboration with the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) and Pennsylvania Department of Health through its Refugee Health Program.

Let's stop suicide: A thematic poster on suicide prevention circulated by BNS in collaboration with artist Kiren Pele
Let’s  Stop Suicide: A thematic poster on suicide prevention circulated by BNS in collaboration with artist Kiren Pele Gurung, Rochester, New York

The first day of the conference will have a panel discussion, and presentations on mental health and suicide prevention by community representatives and experts, one of the organizers, Ashok Gurung, informed Bhutan News Service.

An invitation letter dispatched to various community leaders requested VOLAGs case workers, community leaders, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders to attend and participate in the two-day conference.

“We strongly encourage community leaders from every state and cities that have resettled Bhutanese refugees to be a part of this event, and share their views, lessons learnt from past experiences and recommend practical solutions,” mentioned the letter.

The conference will take place at Temple University of Harrisburg, and free registrations are open until June 6.

The organizers also said that further information regarding registration and other details can be obtained by contacting PK Subedi (215-834-4070) and Ashok Gurung (412-961-4429).

According to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2012, suicide rate among resettled Bhutanese in the U.S. is  20.3 per 1,000, which is higher than both the global suicide rate (16 per thousand) and U.S. suicide rate (12.4 per thousand).