Special Audience with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama during 1st Body, Mind & Life Conference
Mental Health Department, formerly known as the Body, Mind & Life department, was established in the year 2013, deriving inspiration from the Mind and Life Institute of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, and his most motivational guidance addressed during the special audience at the 1st Body, Mind & Life Conference, held at Dharamshala. As the nature of works performed by the department mainly involve mental health, it was renamed as Mental Health Department in 2020.
Nature of Work
- As envisioned by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama the department is determined towards seeking all possible means to preserve and promote mental health care that deserves equal importance and stature as the physical health care in this era of materialistic world.
Aims & Objectives
- The prime objective of this department is to render optimum Mental Health Care services, utilizing the wisdom of Tibetan Medicine (Sowa-Rigpa) and Tibetan Astro-science, with prime focus on Buddhist Psychology while exploring and integrating various other traditional and modern systems of knowledge.
- To improve techniques for prevention and treatment of mental disorders.
- To engage in cultural exchanges.
- To excerpt and compile the fundamentals of different disciplines.
- To conduct research on various practices and experiential understanding.
- To conduct literary research and compilation projects on subjects relevant to Body, Mind & Life in general, and Mental Health Care in particular from the perspectives of Buddhist Psychology, Tibetan Medicine (Sowa-Rigpa) and Tibetan Astro-science.
- To organize conferences, courses and workshops on the theme of body, mind and life, inviting scholars from various systems of knowledge like Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy, Yoga, Chinese Medicine, and Western Medical Science.
- To enhance physical and mental well- being through various practices including yoga and meditation.
- To initiate spiritual activities pertaining to the rituals of Dharma, Tibetan Medicine (Sowa-Rigpa) & Tibetan Astro-Science
(I) BODY, MIND AND LIFE (BML) CONFERENCES:
- Under the umbrella of Mental Health programs, the department has been organizing the BML conference series inviting scholars from Buddhist Psychology, AYUSH system of medicine— Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-Rigpa, and Homeopathy—Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tibetan Astro. Science and Western Medical Science.
- The 1st to 5th BML conferences were held in Dharamshala, HP to benefit the Tibetan Medicine (Sowa-Rigpa) and Tibetan Astro students, Tibetan Medicine (Sowa-Rigpa) Practitioners and Tibetan Astro. Science Practitioners (TASP) based there, and TCV Selakui students. Since 2017, with the sole aim of creating an awareness of mental health care at a wider level, the department embarked upon a new journey of holding twin conferences on a common theme, with one at Dharamshala and another at a city.
- The 5th and 6th conferences were entitled “Prevention of Mental Disorders”. The 6th conference held in Mumbai was jointly organized with Somaiya Vidyavihar in 2017.
- The 7th conference entitled ‘Treatment of Mental Disorders” was held in Delhi and it was jointly organized with the Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness The Dalai Lama (FURHHDL) in 2018.
- The 8th and 9th conferences were held in Dharamshala and Bangalore—jointly organized with Men-Tsee-Khang Wellness Centre—respectively on a common theme “Nurturing a Child’s Mental Health”.
- The 10th and 11th conferences were held in Dharamshala and Chennai respectively on a common theme “Mental Health Care for The Elderly”. The 11th conference was organized in collaboration with National Institute of Siddha medicine (NIS) in January 2020.
- Due to pandemic, the 12th conference which is entitled “Mental Health Care for Woman” has been postponed indefinitely.
(II) COURSES AND WORKSHOPS:
- The department conducts courses and workshops on Mental Health, inviting scholars from Buddhist Psychology, Tibetan Medicine (Sowa-Rigpa), and Tibetan Astro-Science. The audience mainly include students, youth, non-Tibetan enthusiasts, health professionals and professionals in the field of psychiatry. So far, the department has organized 12 courses and workshops on mental health at Dharamshala, Hunsur, Mundgod, Clementown and Bangalore, and 8 guest-speaker lectures. Similarly, the department is actively involved in holding virtual talks on MH in collaboration with Department of Health, CTA, and creating online platforms for Tibetan Medicine doctors and TASPs to share their knowledge and treatment experiences in the field of mental disorder.