Webinar on intersections of mental health with HIV and substance use

The fifth webinar of the web series for capacity building of early career researchers in Nepal titled “Mental Health: Interactions with HIV and Substance Use” was held virtually on 15 December 2021. Vinita Sharma, Ph.D., was the speaker for the event which was moderated by Sauharda Rai. A total of 44 participants participated in the webinar.

After a brief welcome and program introduction by the moderator, the speaker gave her presentation. Firstly, she shared her educational and professional journey in public health. Then, she shared how mental health, HIV, and substance use are interlinked and how these three are major public health problems. “These three have a complex interaction, so we should focus on it in a wholesome way while designing research interventions. The framework which addresses all the issues is known as intersectionality”, said Dr. Sharma.

Similarly, she shared the research methods that can be used to look at the intersections of mental health, HIV, and substance use. For example, some researchers have used intersecting experiences in the qualitative method to determine the health outcomes in people. She also shared the challenges that researchers can face while using the qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods such as external validity and resource constraint. Similarly, in the Nepali context, things such as caste, gender, socio-economic status, substance use, mental health, and HIV must all be taken into account for intersectionality.

At the end of her presentation, Dr. Sharma highlighted the need of identifying people at risk, possible interventions, and COVID-19 related effects. She also emphasized that this is a new and expanding field for early-career researchers but we need to consider the challenges before beginning our research.

After this, participants asked questions to the speaker. The questions mostly focused on collaboration between stakeholders, rehabilitation, and the use of this framework in malnutrition.

The full webinar video can be watched here.


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