School of Social Work Graduate Students and Faculty Present Research in India

Friday, January 15, 2016

Twenty-six UNCW graduate students and faculty presented their research on trends and challenges in community mental health during the Conference on Community Mental Health in Bangalore, India, in December.

The conference was a collaboration between UNCW’s College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) in conjunction with the School of Social Work, as well as the School of Social Work at St. Joseph’s College in Bangalore. More than 500 people from around the world attended the event, including the U.S., India, Afghanistan, Australia, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

UNCW graduate student and faculty presentations ranged from post-traumatic stress in Hispanic immigrant and refugee youth to the correlation between American food additives, pesticides, nutrition and the prevalence of childhood ADHD.

UNCW graduate student James Glasgow presented research on the use of yoga and meditation in mental health therapy for patients diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorders.  

“It was interesting to speak with students and professionals who themselves practiced yoga, and to see what they thought about the way yoga is practiced and used in the U.S. I was also able to learn more about its original use within Indian culture,” he said.

Professor Arthur J. Frankel, one of the conference’s keynote speakers, discussed the status of mental health services in the U.S. and shared his evaluation research on residential treatment for disturbed adolescents.

“Presenting research abroad allowed everyone to see how academicians and students from different cultures viewed our findings from different perspectives,” said Frankel, who also served as the coordinator of the study abroad trip. “This experience, for both students and faculty, will have a significant effect on our professional practices, as the problems and solutions to mental health issues are very different between India and the U.S.”

During the trip, UNCW students were paired with Indian social work graduate students. Faculty spent time with their Indian counterparts and discussed possible joint research and teaching projects, Frankel shared. “The relationships that were formed will certainly be maintained in the years to come,” he said.

St. Joseph’s College School of Social Work graduate students and its director plan to visit UNCW in April to participate in Health and Human Services Week. In addition, there are plans to have a cohort of social work graduate students from St. Joseph’s College participate in social work internships at UNCW.

“Our perspectives concerning mental health have certainly been expanded by visiting India, bringing new ideas for improving mental health in both countries,” Frankel said.

Compiling several photographs from participants, the Office of University Relations created a brief video of the study abroad trip.

-- Venita Jenkins