The Indian Association for Social Psychiatry (IASP) is the culmination of the collective effort of mental health professionals across the country to create a platform for exploration, discussion, research and action on the social determinants and correlates of mental health.
Formed under the chairmanship of Professor A. Venkoba Rao in 1984 with Professor V.K.Varma as its Founder Secretary-General-cum-Treasurer, the association aims to examine the interface between culture and humanity and devotes itself to the scientific study of the issues relevant to the society. The overarching goal of IASP is to examine the role of social and cultural factors in the phenomenology, course, outcome and treatment of psychiatric disorders. The association strives to advance the application of mental health knowledge for the greater public good. IASP aspires to set high standards for research and education, and is determined to support psychiatrists and mental health professionals throughout their career. The IASP represents the first national society for social psychiatry in India and has current member strength of over a thousand mental health professionals. Members include mental health professionals from different fields including psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, psychiatric social workers and psychiatric nurses.
The IASP, since its inception, has a close association with the World Association of Social Psychiatry (WASP) and the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) and is currently a member society of both the WPA and the WASP.
As per its constitution, the purposes and objectives of the IASP are:
- To study the nature of man and his cultures and the prevention and treatment of his vicissitudes and behavioural disorders.
- To promote national and international collaboration among professionals and societies in fields related to social psychiatry.
- To make the knowledge and practice of social psychiatry available to professionals in social psychiatry and other sciences and to the public by such methods as scientific meetings and publications.
- To advance the physical, social, psychological and philosophic well-being of mankind by such methods as promotion of research and deliberations into it.
- To extend consultations and carry out charitable and voluntary work for the furtherance of the objectives mentioned above.
- To do all such things and matters that are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objectives.
With the goal of dissemination of knowledge to increase the wider public awareness of mental health and to promote research in the field of social psychiatry, the IASP publishes the Indian Journal of Social Psychiatry, a peer-reviewed online journal with quarterly print compilation of issues. The first issue of the journal was published in 1986 under the editorship of Prof. B.B. Sethi. The journal focuses on issues related to health, ethical and social factors in field of social and community psychiatry and is highly acclaimed by the mental health academia.
The association supports continued medical education through its yearly national conference – The National Conference of Indian Association for Social Psychiatry (NCIASP), along with multiple other CMEs and international conferences. IASP promotes excellence in research in young scholars and honors lifetime achievement of senior professionals by providing yearly national awards in the field of psychiatry and mental health, during the annual national conference.
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