The videos of the webinar on the Care for Refugees, specially from Ukraine have been published. This webinar, which was held on the 19th of May, was called: Lessons learned from hosting and helping war refegees: from Bosnians to Ukrainians. Stevan Weine and Julia Bala were the lecturers, and in the discussion also Ewa Dobiala, psychiatrist from Poland, joined. 

Of the videos, there are two versions;

In English:

In simultaneous Ukrainian translation:

The early bird registration for the 6th World Congress of Cultural Psychiatry of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry (WACP2022) in Rotterdam has been extended to July 15th. WACP2022 will be held from the 15th to the 17th of September at the Postillion World Convention Center, preconference workshops are on September 14th. Opportunities for registration, travel and accomodation, and the program are on the congress website

Program WACP2022
The program includes over 200 symposia, oral presentations, workshops and posters from all continents. Theme of the congress is: “The Cultural Perspective in Psychiatry: Moving Forward to Meet the Needs of a Globalizing Society.” WACP2022 also offers a social program including guided tours, expositions and dinner in the city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Travel Award Contest

To promote participation from low and middle-income countries, the WACP has awarded twelve competitors to the Travel Award Contest. The list of winners from Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, and South-Africa is available on

Contact information
If you have any questions, please contact

Looking forward seeing you all in 2022 at Postillion Convention Center WTC Rotterdam!



To all members and friends of the WACP

The registration to the Rotterdam conference from 15 till 17 september, 2022, is open from today, the 19th of May, 2022. The Early Bird registration will only last till the 16th of June, 2022! Registration to the Pre Conference Workshops on the 14th of Sepember will open later. 

For more information see:

Open Invitation

Family & Culture Special Interest Group (SIG)

SIG Co-chairs: Vincenzo Di Nicola & Riyadh Al-Baldawi

World Association of Cultural Psychiatry (WACP)

WACP President: Roberto Lewis-Fernández


Dear Colleague and Friend,

The Family & Culture Special Interest Group (SIG) of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry (WACP) would like to invite you to a virtual work meeting on June 11, 2022 @1 pm EDT.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 502 954 0422
Passcode: 545710

The aim of this meeting is to plan a program for our future events for the Family & Culture SIG. We are reaching out to you to help us with your expertise and clinical experiences to put those topics you want us to treat in our future programs.

Our intention as co-founders of this SIG is to convene colleagues interested in families and culture together to share their clinical experiences and inform us about  new models and forms of family intervention they are using in their clinical practices.

Doing therapy with families is complex and needs to include a number of theoretical models as well as knowledge of the family’s socio-cultural and religious background, among other key variables, requiring an understanding of the character of their problem and an understanding of how family members work to solve these problems.

International migration (both forced and voluntary forms) makes the displacement of the family from their home socio-cultural environment to a new one at the host country is often a huge social challenge. This process brings many challenges to the family’s internal and external relations and resources. To deal with all these challenges, the family usually need support and professional help from culturally-informed experts. Psychiatric problems within migrant families could be another critical social challenge where many families need specialized help to deal with these challenges.  

We would like to include in our future program wider topics on family intervention where theoretical and practical clinical experiences complement each other. We hope that your active participation at our coming work meeting will help to achieve this target. We are looking to encourage wider group of professionals working with the families in our future program and activities.

We look forward to meeting you at this upcoming planning meeting.

Please confirm your participation by email to us:

Vincenzo Di Nicola:

Hans Rohlof:



The Local Organizing Committee of the 6th World Congress of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry (WACP2022) presents a free webinar on Thursday, May 19th, 7 PM CET. This is the third webinar in the preparation of the World Conference of Cultural Psychiatry in Rotterdam, 14-17 September 2022. See:

The webinar will simultaneously be translated into the Ukrainian and Polish language, to ensure that clinicians who speak those languages can follow the lectures and discussion.

Due to the war in Ukraine millions of Ukrainians flee the country, mostly women and children. Many countries are hosting war refugees. Hosting war refugees from Ukraine reminds of the hosting of war refugees from Bosnia. What can we learn from hosting war refugees? What went well and what went wrong in hosting war refugees from Bosnia? What facilities or resources are most required? How does the host society need to facilitate integration of war refugees? How many developed posttraumatic stress syndrome, or other mental health problems? Do we need to take care of prevention of psychotrauma or increase accessibility to mental health care? What are the consequences of fleeing from war for family relations? What lessons do we need to learn in order to improve hosting war refugees from Ukraine?

We asked two world famous scientists-practitioners to give a brief lecture about their earlier experience, mostly with Bosnian refugees, but also with refugees from other countries.

  1. Stevan Weine. Lessons learnt from working with Bosnian refugees

Dr. Weine is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Medicine, where he also Director of Global Medicine and Director of the Center for Global Health. For 30 years he has been conducting research both with refugees and migrants in the U.S. and in post-conflict countries, focused on mental health, health, and violence prevention.  This work has been supported by multiple grants from the NIMH, NICHD, DHS, NIJ, and other state, federal, and private funders, all with collaboration from community partners. This work has resulted in more than 130 publications and two books: When History is a Nightmare: Lives and Memories of Ethnic Cleansing in Bosnia-Herzegovina (Rutgers, 1999) and Testimony and Catastrophe: Narrating the Traumas of Political Violence (Northwestern, 2006).

  1. Julia Bala. How to prevent and treat mental health problems in families and children.

Julia Bala, Ph.D is psychologist, psychotherapist and independent consultant. Educated in former Yugoslavia and the USA, since arrival to the Netherlands in 1992, she has been specializing in diagnostics and treatment of traumatized refugee children and families. As a former staff member of Centrum 45/ARQ, National Psychotrauma Center and Pharos Foundation, she developed therapeutic interventions in relation to family consequences of trauma, participated in establishment of novel treatment and preventive programs.

Her current work, as independent consultant, focuses on the development and implementation of preventive programs for refugee parents and families. She provides training, consultation, participates in research projects and publishes on topics related to her main fields of interest: the intergenerational consequences of trauma, the influence of (forced) migration on parenting and the development of children and fostering resilience through multifamily interventions. 

Date: 19th of May, 2022

Time: 19.00 till 20.30 Central European Time.

Eastern Daylight Time: 1 – 2:30 PM (New York City)
Central Daylight Time: 12 – 1:30 PM (Mexico City)



19.00-19.05: Short introduction by Dr. Hans Rohlof, officer of the WACP.

19.05-19.35 Lecture by Prof. Weine

19.35-20.05: Lecture by Dr. Bala

20.05-20.30: Q&A and discussion by the audience.  Dr. Simon Groen, anthropologist, the Netherlands, will moderate the discussion.

Free registration:

This webinar is presented to you by the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry supported by ZonMW (Dutch Organization for Stimulating Health Research and Care Innovation)


On the 2nd of April, 2022, a Townhall Discussion took place organised by the Special Interest Group on Family and Culture.

Co-Chairs: Vincenzo Di Nicola and Riyadh Al-Baldawi 

“Culture, Families & Psychosis:

Should the involvement of the person’s family in the treatment of psychosis be adapted to their cultural background?  And if so, how?”

Introduction: Roberto Lewis-Fernandez, Chair of the WACP 

Presenter: Vincenzo Di Nicola, MPhil, MD, PhD, FCAHS

Professor of Psychiatry & Addictions Medicine, Université de Montréal

Followed by a brief presentation to frame the issues, and a Townhall discussion, moderated by Riyadh Al-Baldawi, MD, PhD, Associate Professor

The video is shown here:

(Russian and Ukrainian version see below)

The World Association of Cultural Psychiatry (WACP) condemns all non-defensive military actions and has a longstanding concern for the mental health and wellbeing of migrants and refugees, including those fleeing conflict areas. In the last decades, many military conflicts have resulted in terrible loss of life and dislocations among civilian populations around the world.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is the most recent. Over the last few weeks, several million refugees, largely women and children, have fled from Ukraine or been displaced within the country. Thousands of casualties have been recorded and the destruction of cities has been  catastrophic. This is expected to result in hundreds of thousands of individuals who will suffer from anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, psychotic states, and suicidal ideation and behaviors. The effects on children and adolescents will be particularly severe. Further, many refugees face additional challenges of racism and discrimination.


WACP condemns all acts of killing, violence, and destruction inflicted on the peoples of Ukraine in this conflict and calls for the immediate cessation of all hostilities.

We also call on our members around the world and all mental health colleagues to provide culturally competent professional help and humanitarian assistance to the refugees and migrants displaced by this conflict and by other conflicts around the world.

The following resources on the care of migrants and refugees may be of help:

The World Mental Health Fact Sheet on Mental Health and Forced Displacement:

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Portal for Refugees & Asylum Seekers: wellbeing-portal

World Cultural Psychiatry Research Review: Careif-Position-statement-on-Migration-and-Mental-Health.final_.pdf?media=1645571425

The Royal Society for Public Health Geopolitical Determinants of Health:

The Officers and Board of Directors of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry



Заявление об Украине

Всемирная ассоциация культуральной психиатрии (WACP) осуждает все военные действия, не связанные с обороной, и давно беспокоится о психическом здоровье и благополучии мигрантов и беженцев, в том числе бегущих из зон конфликтов.  В последние десятилетия многие военные конфликты привели к ужасным человеческим жертвам и перемещениям среди гражданского населения по всему миру.

Российское вторжение в Украину — самое последнее. За последние две недели несколько миллионов беженцев, в основном женщины и дети, бежали из Украины или были перемещены внутри страны. Были зарегистрированы тысячи жертв, а разрушение городов было катастрофическим. Ожидается, что это приведет к тому, что сотни тысяч людей будут страдать от беспокойства, депрессии, посттравматического стрессового расстройства, психотических состояний и суицидальных мыслей и поведения.  Последствия для детей и подростков будут особенно тяжелыми.  Кроме того, многие беженцы сталкиваются с дополнительными проблемами расизма и дискриминации.

WACP осуждает все акты убийства, насилия и разрушения, совершенные в отношении народа Украины в ходе этого конфликта, и призывает к немедленному прекращению всех боевых действий.

Мы также призываем наших членов по всему миру и всех коллег в области психического здоровья оказывать культурально компетентную профессиональную помощь и гуманитарную помощь беженцам и мигрантам, перемещенным в результате этого конфликта и других конфликтов по всему миру.

Могут оказаться полезными следующие ресурсы по заботе о мигрантах и беженцах:

Всемирный информационный бюллетень по психическому здоровью о психическом здоровье и вынужденном перемещении:

Портал психического здоровья и благополучия для беженцев и просителей убежища:

Обзор исследований мировой культуральной психиатрии: Careif-Position-statement-on-Migration-and-Mental-Health  .final_.pdf?media=1645571425

Геополитические детерминанты здоровья Королевского общества общественного здравоохранения:

Сотрудники и совет директоров Всемирной ассоциации культуральной психиатрии


Ukrainian Version

Заява щодо України


Всесвітня асоціація культуральної психіатрії (WACP) засуджує всі необоронні військові дії та давно турбується про психічне здоров’я та благополуччя мігрантів та біженців, у тому числі тих, хто тікає із зон конфлікту.  Протягом останніх десятиліть багато військових конфліктів призвели до жахливих людських жертв і дислокацій серед цивільного населення по всьому світу.

Останнє – вторгнення Росії в Україну. За останні два тижні кілька мільйонів біженців, переважно жінок і дітей, втекли з України або були переміщені всередині країни. Зафіксовано тисячі жертв, а руйнування міст стало катастрофічним.  Очікується, що це призведе до сотень тисяч людей, які будуть страждати від тривоги, депресії, посттравматичного стресового розладу, психотичних станів, суїцидальних думок і поведінки.  Особливо серйозними будуть наслідки для дітей та підлітків.  Крім того, багато біженців стикаються з додатковими проблемами расизму та дискримінації.

WACP засуджує всі акти вбивства, насильства та руйнування, заподіяні народу України в цьому конфлікті, і закликає до негайного припинення всіх бойових дій.

Ми також закликаємо наших членів у всьому світі та всіх колег з питань психічного здоров’я надавати культурально компетентну професійну допомогу та гуманітарну допомогу біженцям і мігрантам, переміщеним через цей конфлікт та інші конфлікти по всьому світу.

Допомогою можуть стати наступні ресурси з догляду за мігрантами та біженцями:

Всесвітній інформаційний бюлетень про психічне здоров’я та примусове переміщення:

Портал про психічне здоров’я та добробут для біженців і шукачів притулку:

Звіт з досліджень Всесвітньої асоціації Культуральної психотерапії: Careif-Position-statement-on-Migration-and-Mental-Health  .final_.pdf?media=1645571425

Королівське товариство громадського здоров’я, геополітичні детермінанти здоров’я:


Співробітники та Рада директорів Всесвітньої асоціації культуральної психіатрії



Stigma of mental illness and COVID-19 – Cultural perspectives: Webinar Report

Tian-Ming Zhang, Yu-Rong Ma, Mao-Sheng Ran, Hans Rohlof, Jie Li, Albert Persaud, Roberto Lewis-Fernández

Stigma of mental illness, a significant public health concern, has long been recognized as a major barrier to the successful treatment and recovery of persons living with mental disorders. Over the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has evoked fear in the general public, leading to additional stigmatization and discrimination, especially among individuals with mental condition who are less likely to access health services (Armitage & Nellum, 2020). In order to present a synopsis of the relationship between culture and stigmatization associated with the intersection of mental illness and COVID-19, and to explore a culturally informed framework for clinical practice, research, and policy-making, the Special Interest Groups on Culture, Stigma, and Discrimination and Cultural Psychiatry and the COVID-19 Pandemic of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry were honored to invite experts from diverse cultural contexts to participate in a webinar held on December 10, 2021. These experts were Prof. Dinesh Bhugra, Ms. Melanie Escaño, Prof. Cécile Rousseau, and Prof. Winnie W.S. Mak. The four speakers shared informative data and experiences from diverse cultural perspectives.

Prof. Dinesh Bhugra, from King’s College London, presented clear evidence from the U.K. on longstanding social and economic inequalities by virtue of COVID-19. This review revealed there were substantial variations in infection and mortality rates across population from diverse ethnonational backgrounds largely related to their social circumstances, such as types of employment. The COVID-19 pandemic has also fueled racism and prejudice. Prof. Bhugra emphasized the need to focus on reducing structural racism and promoting awareness of sociocultural variation in the impact of the pandemic.

Ms. Melanie Escaño, a migrant from the Philippines living in the Netherlands, shared her personal story in response to the question of how COVID-19 impacts a migrant’s life. From Melanie’s narrative we learned that some government prevention and control policies do not appropriately protect vulnerable groups affected by COVID-19. The most effective way to address the pandemic is to adopt policies that guarantee that no one is left behind during the crisis.

Prof. Cécile Rousseau, from McGill University, shared international research findings from diverse cultural contexts that explored COVID-19-related discrimination, cumulative stress, and psychological distress. The data revealed that the pandemic has not only fueled existing inequities but has also generated specific forms of discrimination. Crisis responses should integrate anti-racism action plans, prioritize health and social equity, and always include a mental health dimension.

Prof. Winnie W.S. Mak, from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, applied a core concept of “interconnectedness” from the ecological model to clarify the intersectionality of mental illness, COVID-19, and stigma. Interconnectedness, defined as the perception of interdependent relationship, may also play a crucial role in alleviating suffering and stigma reduction. Compassion may mediate the effect of interconnectedness on stigma (Yu et al., 2021).

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. According to the reports and narratives included in this webinar the impact also complicates coping with the stigma of mental illness. Both kinds of stigma are deeply affected by global and structural issues. Therefore, in-depth comparative work between different countries is needed to clarify the role of sociocultural and structural factors in creating vulnerabilities, resiliencies, and specific forms of coping; this is the strength of a cultural psychiatry approach. In the post-pandemic era, in the face of increasingly diverse and complex environments, we can no longer ignore the power of culture.


Armitage, R., & Nellums, L. B. (2020). The COVID-19 response must be disability inclusive. The Lancet Public Health5(5), e257.

Yu, B. C., Mak, W. W., Leung, I. W., & Chio, F. H. (2021). Reducing Stigma Through Interconnectedness and Compassion: a Buddhism-Based Approach to Reduce Stigma Toward People with Mental Illness. Mindfulness12(7), 1779-1790.