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In This Issue
5th World Congress on Women's Mental Health
Editor's Message
President's Message
IAWMH Committees
Report from Nada Stotland
Report from Unaiza Niaz
Upcoming Events
Upcoming Events


Established in 2001 to improve the mental health of women throughout the world,  the International Association for Women's Mental Health is a Not for Profit, Non-Governmental Organization.


The mission of IAWMH is:


-  To improve the mental health of women throughout the world.


 -  To expand the fund of knowledge about Women's Mental Health.


-  To promote gender-sensitive and autonomy-enhancing mental health

services for women.


-  To advance collaboration between Societies and Sections.


For more information:  www.iawmh.org  


IAWMH Leadership

For a complete list of our Leadership -  click here!


Click here to download


IAWMH Consensus Statement on Women's Mental Health and the WPA Statement on Interpersonal Violence Against Women



These have been approved by all national psychiatric associations (130+) which belong to WPA.





We're looking for good ideas!  Yours!


Please submit suggestions for future newsletter items, personal news, or even suggested topics for the next meeting.  


Send them to info@iawmh.org


Contact us:


International Association for Women's Mental Health
c/o Debra Tucker Associates LLC
8213 Lakenheath Way
Potomac, Maryland 20854 USA
Phone - 1-301-983-6282



Please note:

The views and opinions expressed in these reports are solely those of the individuals noted and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by IAWMH, its leadership or members. 


Summer 2012

Abstract Submission Deadline Approaching for the

5th World Congress on Women's Mental Health

 Lima Congress 1 

Lima 1  

Save the Date and plan to attend!

5th World Congress on

Women's Mental Health

4-7 March2013 - Lima, Peru




To submit an abstract - click here!

Submissions for Symposia/Workshops - Deadline September 4! 

Submissions for Orals/Posters - Deadline October 1! 


Scientific Program Chair - programchair@iawmh.org

Marta B. Rondon, MD
Vice Decana, Colegio Medico del Peru;
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health,
Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia - Lima, Peru



Welcome - Editor's Message

Unaiza Niaz

We hope you have enjoyed your summer.  We are in the midst of preparations for the 5th World Congress on Women's Mental Health in Lima, Peru on 4-7 March 2013.


Our members have been active in many congresses, symposia and conferences in the past few months and preparing for upcoming presentations such as:

  • "Psychiatrica Congress" was held in Thailand July 17-18, 2012 for psychiatrists from across India.   It was devoted to women's mental health: depression in pregnancy, the effects of psychotropics in pregnancy, the importance of psychosocial issues, postpartum depression and violence and mistreatment of girls.  Dr. Donna Stewart (keynote) and Dr Prabha Chandra presented.
  • European Congress for Social Psychiatry/Social psychiatry at the age of Neurosciencesin Geneva held on July 4-6, 2012.  IAWMH was a co-sponsor where we presented two symposia:
    1. Psychosocial Risk Factors for Women's Mental Health - click here for abstracts!
            Presented by Anita Riecher-Rössler and Marianne Kastrup 
    Gender and Schizophrenia: Psychosocial Aspects 
            Presented by Judith Usall and Gemma Garcia-Parés
  • Beijing Chinese Congress of Reproductive Medicine Feb 22-25, 2012 Presented a paper on - Psychological aspects of infertility for women and men"
  • Unaiza Niaz was a keynote speaker, -"Women's Shelters for Victims of VAW," at the Violence Against Women PHASE (Psychological Health & Awareness Society in Egypt ) Congress, Cairo in November 2011.
  • Unaiza also represented IAWMH as International Member, The International Resource Group Meeting,of Gaza Community Mental Health Program, in Luxor Egypt, on 23-27 December 2011 


International Resource Group of GCMHP,at Luxor Egypt
International Resource Group of GCMHP, at Luxor Egypt


 Upcoming Meetings /Congresses / Conferences:

  • Donna Stewart & Katie Sheehan will be presenting "Turning Points for Perpetrators of Intimate Partner Violence " at the Canadian Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting on September 26-29, 2012
  • Gemma Garcia-Parés and Judith Usall are members of the Catalan Group For Research In Woman Mental Health. This group is preparing the 3 Catalan Congress on Women's mental Health (October 2012). Anita Riecher Rössler will make a keynote lecture at this Congress.
  • 12th Pan Arab Psychiatric Conference (PAPC2012) which will take place from 29 November to 01 December 2012 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Unaiza Niaz will present the Keynote address "Women's Mental Health & National Development: a Perspective from Pakistan"
  • WPA co-sponsorship of the meeting "International Conference in Social Psychiatry in Egypt" to be held in Cairo, Egypt from 28-29 November 2012.   Unaiza Niaz will be a Keynote Speaker - "Building Resilience in Women in Domestic Violence          

Members are invited to send their news, views and brief articles, on the women's mental health issues. Comments or suggestions are most welcome.


Unaiza Niaz



Welcome - President's Message

Anita Riecher-Rössler

Dear Members of our Association, dear All


More than a year has passed since our wonderful Madrid congress and we are already preparing the next congress in Lima. So far many interesting symposia have been suggested. I am sure it will be a splendid meeting again!


Please do look on our website, maybe you want to propose further symposia or talks - you are heartily welcome and we appreciate a broad spectrum of topics. It would be great to have not only psychiatrists and psychologists, but also biologists, sociologists, gynaecologists, endocrinologists, brain researchers, gender researchers of all kind. Please do join in and share your knowledge, come to Lima, March 4-7, 2013!


Peru is also a very nice country for travelling with many highlights, and you might combine your visit with holidays. We will try to suggest some tours before or after the congress to you, so maybe you learn about the situation of women in this part of the world not only at the congress, but also from travelling around.


During the last months we were very active in our different committees. Please visit our website to contact the respective people if you want to join in - you are very welcome!


We have organized gender symposia at other congresses such as the Congress of the European Psychiatric Association in Prague and the Congress for European Social Psychiatry in Geneva (for details see the newsletter). There will also be symposia of the IAWMH at the congress of the European Psychiatric Association  in Nice next March.


Furthermore, we can already announce our book "Violence against Women and Mental Health", which will hopefully be printed for the Lima congress.


As you know, violence against women and the sequelae for their mental wellbeing were the focus of my two years presidency. In Lima we will have to define our next focus. I look very much forward to many lively discussions on this.


Looking very much forward to meeting you all again and also to establish new contacts.


Kind regards,


Anita Riecher-Rössler, MD PhD

President of the IAWMH




Karger Book 


 To view the table of contents - click here!






IAWMH Committees

Click here for IAWMH Committees, Rosters & Aims




CHAIR - Unaiza Niaz - The Psychiatric Clinic & Stress Research Centre, Pakistan  - email:  drunaiza@gmail.com





Gisele Apter - EPS Erasme, France - email: gisdanap@aol.com 


Josyan Madi-Skaff - Psychiatry Department, The Lebanese Hospital, Lebanon - email: josyan.madiskaff@gmail.com




CHAIR - Judith Usall - Parc Sanitari Sant Joan De Déu, Barcelona, Spain - email:  jusall@pssjd.org 






Report from Nada Stotland, MD
former President of the American Psychiatric Association

The changes in laws and regulations governing contraception and abortion around the world.  Women's Mental Health Section members of WPA, have been following the changes in laws and regulations governing contraception and abortion around the world.  England has easily withstood a challenge brought about by a misleading article in the British Journal of Psychiatry alleging significant psychiatric damage from induced abortion.  The dreadful methodology used in this review led to a firestorm of criticism from scientists.  In Canada and France, early abortion continues to be essentially non-controversial as well.  As many of you may know, the United States has seen a flood of anti-abortion legislation, both by individual state legislatures and the federal government.  Much of this legislation is based upon spurious allegations that abortion causes psychiatric damage and that women must be forced to take extra time to make the decision to terminate a pregnancy.  In several states, legislatures have mandated the precise words which a clinician must say to a patient before performing an abortion, often including misinformation about psychiatric consequences.  Forcing women to undergo ultrasound examinations, another new mandate in some states, may be psychologically stressful to some of them.  In South America, some countries have liberalized access to abortion, while in others advocates of the full range of reproductive services is still limited.  The members of the Section would like all psychiatrists to know, and to communicate to patients as well as their colleagues and communities, that there is no credible evidence that induced abortion is the cause of psychiatric disorders. 


Nada Stotland

Report from Unaiza Niaz on her Visit to Gaza

I was invited by Dr Eyad El Sarraj, the President,of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program(GCMHP), to attend their International Resource Group Meeting in Luxor Egypt,23rd to 27TH December,2012, and later to visit Gaza Palestine


Visit to Gaza, was a unique and memorable experience of my life. This small strip of Gaza is on the magnificent, azure Mediterranean sea. Gaza City is the Strip's biggest population centre and has about 400,000 inhabitants. As in other towns in Gaza, there are high levels of poverty, deprivation and unemployment in Gaza City. Most people in Gaza live in eight refugee camps, to which the United Nations delivers health, education and other humanitarian services.


Gaza, is a vibrant civil society of children, students and teachers, along with the refugee groups and women's organizations. The Gaza Community Mental Health Program (GCMHP) was formed in 1992, after the first Intifada. It is an excellent innovative community mental health program, in the war torn Palestinian territory. It has a vital role in healing, sustaining, and promoting positive mental health, in the war torn community, which has about 60-70% of adolescents and children.


Women's Mental Health in Gaza.


The Arab tradition gives woman a highly respected position as she is assumed to be fully responsible for the care of the family and children. But Women are harshly judged in case of relationship outside marriage and can be sacrificed for the family honor. With the national liberation movement women strove to win equality in work and education. Today around 90% of women are educated and many to university level. Men and women move freely, in town with liberty and without coercion.


Like all the patriarchal Muslim societies, Palestinian Women, also suffer as the society legitimizes violence against women. The society considers violence against women, as a sensitive issue, and a kind of necessary for the discipline according to wrong interpretation of the religion. Some of Gaza women suffer from male violence and from the tribal male dominated traditions. Some cases of suicide and honor killing are reported.


The long-standing siege of Gaza and the resulting destruction of economy, women were pushed to seek employment as their husbands are unemployed and helpless as providers. The most apparent figure of disturbance affecting the women mental health is the violence against her; unlike the man, the woman is vulnerable to both kinds of violence, the external one where the whole society is exposed to it, and it's the overall violence like the war and siege with their dire consequences at various levels including mental health, economic, legal, social levels....etc.





Palestinian women continue to experience a variety of traumatic events, like exposure to shooting, shelling of their homes, witnessing killing of close relatives, being detained at their homes and, internal displacement, home and land destruction. These traumatic events lead to significant anxiety, depression, somatic and social dysfunctional symptoms and PTSD. But women continue to take care of their children and family in spite of devastating effect of war. And most women in Gaza suffer severe anxiety about the safety of their children, due to frequent and repeated bombing and killing.


Gaza community mental health program was founded with the belief that Human rights are basic needs and essentially are part of the definition of mental health. GCMHP'S pioneer initiative was translated by establishing a Women Empowerment program which has lead to establishing three women centers which serve the entire community of Gaza strip.

Staff of Women's Center at Gaza,with Unaiza
Staff of Women's Center at Gaza


 AISHA-Association for Woman and Child Protection was created in 1996 under the name of Women Empowerment Program within the Gaza Community Mental Health Program. AISHA is dedicated to serving, supporting, and building the capacity of Gaza women and children who have experienced or are at risk of violence. The group focus's on women with disabilities, women displaced by war, and women-headed households in Gaza, besides implementing its stated guiding human rights principles of accountability, rule of law, transparency, tolerance, empowerment, participation and inclusion, equality, equity, non-discrimination, and attention to vulnerable groups.  AISHA, offers, women, the needed awareness consultation in various psychosocial, legal, and economic fields , in addition to psychosocial and legal group and individual counseling , and rehabilitation.


 Upcoming Events


  Marce Society Congress  

 EPA 2013