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'Terrible...thanks for asking' a series of webinars on mental health & wellbeing



The physical, emotional, social and psychological health and wellbeing of members of our community is our highest order concern. The intellectual flourishing, personal development and happiness of members of the College is underwritten by attention to these. We want people to feel cared for and able to care for others. 

We are all prone to experiences of a dip or detriment to some aspects of our health and wellbeing at some time and need to feel supported and cared for in order to cope and, we hope, to recover. Understanding the experiences of others, and especially those who work in a professional capacity with people who might be ill, in distress or troubled, can be very helpful in understanding our own situation and possibly what help is available. 

In the face of the coronavirus pandemic the threats to health and wellbeing became every more apparent from the impact of the virus itself to that of 'lockdown' of social and psychological health and the retraction and inaccesiblity of health services as they were overwhelmed. 

In this context we set out to engage friends and alumni in a series of conversations, broadcast live roughly once a month and recorded for future viewing in which we invited them to speak about their professional and, sometimes, personal experiences of working in fields where they help others in serious health difficulty. 

We want to celebrate and recognise their contribution and thank them for giving us their time and sharing experiences and expertise and enabling you, whether you are staff, student, alumni or simply interested in our College, to be enriched, touched and inspired by their stories. 

You can find recordings of 'Terrible...thanks for asking' below.

University student
We are delighted to have launched in 2021 a new initiative in the 'Terrible...thanks for asking' webinar programme. It features conversations with alumni and friends of College whose work and careers have a focus on providing care and support others facing serious health, welfare and wellbeing challenges. In each webinar we explore our guest's work and also look on how that has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. We hear about how they approach care and self-care in difficult times

Simon Forrest
Principal of the College of St Hild & St Bede
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'Terrible...thanks for asking' with Dr Khalil Geagea

This is a webinar from our series of talks with alumni and friends of College about mental health and wellbeing. In this episode, recorded in 25th March 2021, Dr Khalil Geagea, MD, FRCP(C), FAPA, will speak about mental health from the perspective of a Psychiatrist. He is the Director of in-patient Psychiatric Services at the Montreal Jewish Hospital. He is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University. 

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Dan Turner writes about 'Terrible...thanks for asking' with Dr Khalil Geagea

Thursday, 25 March 2021

At seven in the evening I joined a webinar organised by Stephanie Maurel (Alumni Development Officer) at my old Durham University college, St Hild and St Bede. For an hour, the college principal, Professor Simon Forrest, held a conversation with psychiatrist Dr Khalil Geagea of the Montreal Jewish Hospital. It was quite fascinating as our esteemed guest told how he became involved in psychiatry after setting out to be a general surgeon. The hospital, where he had been based since 1973, was a 48-bed inpatient unit for cases of severe mental ill health such as schizophrenia and bipolar. At the time of their admission, such patients were living their own form of alternative reality. The discussion moved on to Covid-19 and its effects on mental health; the importance of both peer and family support was mentioned. It was impressed that we should not be afraid to reach out and seek help, for example through use of helplines. Dr Geagea considered diagnosis as a form of communication, but went on to say this should not define a patient who was always unique and composed of multiple facets. He thought it was important for patients who may have passed through the worst of their illness to share their experiences and ended by telling us, “There is always hope.”Originating from the Lebanon, Dr Geagea had gone to Montreal early in his career. After gaining his medical degree, he had studied a further four years in psychiatry and said his job was as much about connecting with humanity as it was about diagnosis and medication. He also tried to help his patients further through open-ended psychotherapy.This was a most interesting hour during which I learned about this dedicated man’s career and which was able to instil me (as a long-term sufferer of poor mental health) with more hope for the future.

A short review (by Daniel M Turner) for the College of St Hild and St Bede, Durham University

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'Terrible...thanks for asking' with Dr Kasia Maksym

Our second guest is Dr Maksym. She overlooks high risk pregnancies in the Maternal and Foetal Assessment unit, at University College London Hospital. This series is kindly supported by Hild Bede SCR.

Click here to watch this webinar
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'Terrible...thanks for asking' with Jesse Bachir

For pride month, we had the pleasure to welcome Jesse Bachir as our guest. Jesse is a Teaching Fellow in Public Law and Human Rights at Durham Law School, and researches on the nature of freedom and domination. He identifies as LGBTQ+ and has previously worked with groups such as Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union on marriage equality. This series is kindly supported by Hild Bede SCR.

Click here to watch this webinar