On Thursday, 9 March 2023, the class of Psychology and Culture conducted a guest lecture with Prof. Byron J. Good, a Professor of Medical Anthropology in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School alongside Prof. Subandi, M.A., Ph.D.
The lectures mainly talk about how mental health problems could emerge after the happenings of a conflict. It focuses on the effect of culture towards mental health and vice versa. In this context, Prof. Byron shared about the well-being of people in Aceh post-tsunami in 2004. Prof. Byron developed mental health interventions by assessing trauma between people in Aceh after experiencing the Tsunami.
The goal of this intervention is to assess levels of trauma and psychological symptoms. From the intervention, it was examined that mental health problems exist for a long time even after the conflict has ended since problems like anxiety, depression and PTSD have a big influence towards social and economic aspects. However, these problems can be treated with the help of standardized livelihood interventions that are capable of helping people. The purpose of this lecture is to emphasize that both culture and mental health have its significant effects towards each other. Culture is capable of giving an impact towards people’ mental health and mental health is also capable of influencing the development of a culture and customs within the society.
From one of the students, the take home message that can be obtained from the lecture is that there’s always more than meets the eye when it comes to getting an overview of a culture and mental health is a very important factor.