Web Forum

Global Health Series #4
Facing Mental Health Challenges in Afghanistan
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 | 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM Pacific

Mental health needs tend to fall by the wayside in poor, war-torn countries as people struggle with the pressing realities of daily life. But long periods of violence, destruction, loss of loved ones and uncertainty take a toll. More people experience post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, and other serious mental conditions are exacerbated or go untreated. In most of these nations, the mental health infrastructure was either inadequate to start with or was seriously damaged in the conflict. As a result, health professionals are needed more than ever today to teach and train future mental health providers as well as to develop culturally appropriate and evidence-based interventions.

Please join us for a discussion about the developing mental health system in one of these nations, Afghanistan. Ravaged by war and brutal internal conflict for 30 years, Afghans have endured tremendous psychological trauma and upheaval. The Web Forum will describe experiences building the mental health system and provide information about its current structure. A brief summary of the Afghan Ministry of Public Health's effort to integrate mental health into primary care will be presented. Finally, the Forum will look at current approaches for treating mental health patients in clinics.

The Web Forum will feature two Afghan mental health professionals with extensive experience within the country. Dr. Nahid Aziz is an associate professor at the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Washington D.C. Dr. Esmael Darman is a Fulbright Scholar and a Master of Science candidate in the Department of Clinical and Counseling Psychology at Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia.







    Nahid Aziz, PsyD
    Associate Professor
    American School of Professional Psychology
    Argosy University
    Washington, DC
    Afghanistan Mental Health Workgroup
    Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    Vice President
    Afghan Education for a Better Tomorrow

    Nahid Aziz, PsyDDr. Nahid Aziz is an Associate Professor at the American School of Professional Psychology (ASPP) at Argosy University, Washington DC. She received a Master of Arts degree and a PsyD degree in clinical psychology from Alliant International University.

    Dr. Aziz was the recipient of the Outstanding Dissertation Award and the 1999 Best Dissertation of the Year at Alliant International University. Her dissertation was a clinical manual for mental health professionals treating Afghan immigrant and refugee women. Her works and activities have had a tremendous impact on the Afghan, Muslim and immigrant community in the United States and in Afghanistan.

    She is the Co-Chair of Afghanistan Mental Health Workgroup at Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services helping Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health establish and reconstruct mental health services and develop mental health capacity. She is also the Vice President of a non-profit organization, Afghan Education for A Better Tomorrow, which promotes education and health to the needy Afghans. (www.argosy.edu/colleges/american-school-professional-psychology/Default.aspx | www.samhsa.gov/index.aspx | www.afghaneducation.org)

    Esmael Darman, MD
    Fulbright Scholar and M.S. Program Candidate, 2011
    Clinical and Counseling Psychology Department
    Chestnut Hill College
    Philadelphia, PA

    Esmael Darman, MDEsmael Darman was raised in Kabul and relocated to Herat with his family during the civil war. He graduated from Herat Medical School in 2006 and worked for the pediatric and neuropsychiatry wards of the Herat Regional Hospital in western Afghanistan for more than a year. He simultaneously worked for Herat Mental Health Clinic/Resource from 2007 to 2009. In 2009, he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to obtain a Master’s degree in Clinical & Counseling Psychology in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has published a number of articles on emotional health, mental disorders, and human rights in a number of newspapers and journals in Afghanistan. He has also been a guest speaker at Herat University. His recent article on doctor-patient relationship was published by Pennsylvania Psychologist in Dec 2010. In addition, he has created the first ever website on psychology and mental health for Afghanistan. He is anticipated to graduate in July, 2011. He is interested in teaching psychology and providing counseling and training doctors, psychiatric nurses, counselors, and community/social workers (www.cies.org | www.chc.edu/Graduate/Programs/Masters/Clinical_and_Counseling_Psychology | www.rawanonline.com)


    Carmen Rita Nevarez, MD, MPH
    Vice President for External Relations and Preventive Medicine Advisor
    Public Health Institute
    Oakland, CA

    Carmen Rita Nevarez, MD, MPH currently serves as the Vice President of External Relations and Preventive Medicine Advisor at the Public Health Institute (PHI), one of the largest and most comprehensive non-profit public health organizations in the nation
    Dr. Nevarez has over 32 years of experience as a physician and 29 years as a public health practitioner, having served as the Director of Department of Health and Human Services and Health Officer, City of Berkeley, California, as well as in various clinical settings including serving as Medical Director at La Clinica de la Raza in Oakland.  She is Immediate Past President of the American Public Health Association (APHA).  She is past Board Chair of Latino Coalition for a Healthy California and a member of the Partnership for Prevention Advisory Board. In addition, she has served state government as a member of advisory committees on Primary Care Clinics, Binational and Border Health and Multicultural Health.  Her areas of expertise include Women's reproductive health, community based strategies for chronic disease prevention, and social media for public health. (www.phi.org and www.Dialogue4Health.org


The following documents are PDF versions of the speakers’ presentations and are intended to be used for reference only.

Facing Mental Health Challenges in Afghanistan Aziz/Argosy University/ Darman/Fulbright Scholar

Aziz/Argosy University

Darman/Fulbright Scholar


The following documents provide important background information that can enhance the Web Forum experience.


The following websites provide important background information that can enhance the Web Forum experience.

Ministry of Public Health | Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
World Health Organization | Afghanistan
Rawan Online


The organizations listed below have come together to sponsor this important effort:

Public Health Institute Logo Afghanistan Mental Health Workgroup

Public Health Institute

Afghanistan Mental Health Workgroup

Afghanistan Public Health Network  

Afghanistan Public Health Network