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November 2010
WPA Regional Meeting in Saint Petersburg, 10 - 12 June 2010

The WPA Regional Meeting was held in Saint Petersburg, Russia on June 10-12, 2010. It was the first international event of such a level in mental health sphere in Russia. The President of the WPA Prof. Mario Maj, and the members of the Executive Committee provided substantial support during the preparation of the Congress. It was organized by the Russian Society of Psychiatrists (President – Prof. Valery Krasnov) and gathered more than a 1,000 participants (half of them from Russia). Representatives from 56 countries and from all the continents attended the Meeting.  The most numerous delegations were from Poland, Portugal, Hungary, USA, Czech Republic, Latvia, Egypt, Tunis, Sweden, and Turkey. A convenient, well-equipped venue in the Park Inn Pribaltiyskaya near the Finnish Bay hosted the Congress.

The theme of the Meeting "Traditions and innovations in psychiatry" highlights a rich experience of modern psychiatry and recent contributions from different parts of the world and from different mental health professionals.

The intensive scientific programme included six plenary lectures, 26 symposia, seven satellite symposia, five panel discussions, four workshops, two oral presentations, a poster session, and a focus group.

The art therapy studios exhibition "Walls and Bridges" accompanied by the charming concert "Crystal Harmony" was inaugurated on the first day of the Congress and set the tone of creativity and empathy for the forthcoming activities. A wide spectrum of discussed issues concern the current approaches to diagnosis and therapy of mental disorders in psychiatry, primary care and general medicine, as well as the humanistic, ethical, legal and social  problems. Aid complex in disaster, age-related and gender aspects of psychopathology, suicide prevention were the focus of special attention.

Prof. Norman Sartorius (left), and Prof. Valery Krasnov.The valuable WPA educational programme on depression was presented at the beginning of the Congress for future distribution for better coping with this socially significant disease. Members of the WPA Sections on Suicidology, Old Age Psychiatry, Philosophy and History, Psychiatry in Developing Countries, Psychoanalysis in Psychiatry actively participated in the Meeting by holding their Symposia on thematic problems of great interest. The Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia presented data concerning the protection of the rights of legally incapable persons with mental disorders.

Apart from the main programme, pre- and post-congress events took place as well. The pre-congress conference on mental disorders classification was sponsored by the WHO, the Russian Society of Psychiatrists and the Bekhterev Psychoneurological Research Institute. The participants from Russian-speaking countries discussed challenging issues on the subject and suggested their recommendations for the revision of ICD-10. A post-congress workshop for young Russian psychiatrists headed by Prof. Sartorius was a great opportunity for the development of important social and professional skills.

Mysterious twilight of the White Nights and the sophisticated beauty of Saint Petersburg with its palaces, museums, squares, and canals provided a unique atmosphere for this Meeting.

Maya Kulygina
Co-chair, Organizing Committee

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