News & Events
On Saturday 20 September 2014, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London hosted a seminar organised by BAPS Charities on ‘Achieving a Healthy Lifestyle’. In collaboration with MIND and Diabetes UK, the seminar raised awareness and provided practical guidance on working towards a healthy body and a healthy mind.
Dr Rajeev Dhar, consultant psychiatrist practising in Harley Street, was a guest speaker at the event. Dr Dhar’s lecture addressed the importance of recognising symptoms of poor mental health that can compromise daily functioning and, in turn, impact physical health.
Dr Dhar highlighted sleep disturbance, low mood and poor concentration as key factors that may represent early signs of poor mental health. He also stressed acknowledging that optimal mental health is as important as physical well-being and urged those suffering to seek professional help.
Dr Markand Patel, a radiologist and a volunteer at BAPS Charities, spoke of the importance of maintaining a healthy body. He firstly explained the vital signs of heart disease and stroke. After emphasising the high genetic risk of heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure among the South Asian community, he went on to provide useful guidance on how each of these can be prevented or at least controlled by an active lifestyle, a healthy diet, and, if necessary, prescribed medication.
The concepts from both lectures were further reinforced during interactive workshops.
Members of the Harrow and Brent branches of MIND conducted a workshop on “Dealing with Chronic Pain” where they explained the emotional impact of chronic pain and shared practical tips on how to minimise its effects on daily living.
Volunteers from Diabetes UK led a workshop on “My Lifestyle as a Diabetic”. This included a Gujarati food quiz, testing the delegates’ knowledge of a balanced diet. Additionally, a recently diagnosed diabetic shared his personal journey through the condition helping further educate the attendees.
BAPS Charities volunteers also led a yoga session demonstrating how both body and mind can benefit from physical exercises and relaxation techniques.
The event was attended by approximately 40 people from the local community, with lots of positive feedback. Most shared that they were grateful that mental health and well-being were discussed so openly and given as much prominence as physical health.
Narendra Patel, a medical volunteer for BAPS Charities, commented: “Sadly, there’s still a stigma in the community attached to mental health problems and so too often they are swept under the carpet, meaning people who need the help the most don’t receive it. We wanted to break that taboo and bring both mental and physical health out in the open on par. We hope this seminar can be a step in that direction and are pleased we have been able to provide some practical guidance too with the help of these experts.”
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