BIS #6785 Prafulta Inaugurates Silver Jubilee Celebrations

By Ms Ratandeep Chawla and Dr Wilona Annunciation for BISMumbai

Prafulta - Centre for Psychological Wellness, Andheri, inaugurated its Silver Jubilee by hosting a conference for various mental health professionals on 4 September 2022 at the Don Bosco International School Hall, Matunga.

The director of Prafulta, Fr Godfrey D'Sa, showcased the history of the institution and welcomed the chief guest for the event, Fr Savio Silveira, the Provincial of the Mumbai Province. He then invited Fr Silveira, and the guests of honour to light the lamp giving thanks to God for the blessings bestowed on Prafulta during the past 25 years.

In his address, Fr D’Sa remembered that when he started Prafulta in 1998, mental health was still taboo. But that did not deter the initial team, and gradually the work done spoke for itself convincing people of the importance of mental health. One of the ways they ensured this was by changing terminologies and talking about mental well-being and emotional intelligence instead of simply focusing on illness and treatment. His talk was followed by a short sharing by Ms Shalu Mehrotra on Prafulta's outreach program for the marginalised.

Fr Silveira was very appreciative of the work Prafulta has done and said that "true to its name, Prafulta has brought abundance in the lives of thousands of people and upheld the principles of its founder Don Bosco by reaching out to the most needy and neglected.” He also added that it was the time to gear up for more work, both in quality and quantity, to meet the demands of the present time, especially post-pandemic.

The various speakers in their sessions spoke of the importance of teamwork among the different mental health professionals while working with clients. Dr Wilona Annunciation spoke about the changing trends in family psychiatry and therapy, and highlighted the need for a collaborative approach to address the concerns of the family coming for help. There were also presentations on empowering school systems by Ms Mimansa Popat, and Community Mental Health by Dr Sachin and Ms Alisha that emphasised the benefits of a collaborative approach.

An interesting Panel ensued with lively discussion on the theme ‘Wellbeing and Recovery - It Takes a Village!’ This panel was moderated by Dr Ruksheda Syeda, along with an eminent group of panellists - Dr Kersi Chavda - psychiatrist, Ms Shalu Mehrotra - counselling psychotherapist, Dr Reema Valia - occupational therapist and Ms Nazema Sagi - clinical psychologist.

The conference was attended by 85 delegates, who were mental health professionals ranging from Psychiatrists to Psychologists, Special Educators, Occupational Therapists and Counsellors. The delegates were very appreciative of the effort put in by Prafulta to bring new learnings, and for gathering so many professionals together who are actively working in the field.

The conference ended with a vote of thanks by Ms. Ratandeep Chawla which was followed by a simple but delicious lunch. While this was just the start of the Jubilee celebrations, the entire team was happy with a job well done. To us at Prafulta however, the words of Robert Frost come to mind as we look forward to our next event, "We have promises to keep, and miles to go before we sleep, and miles to go before we sleep!"