ARS and Pacific Clinics Hold Forum On Depression, PTSD and Anxiety

ARS Chairperson Lena Bozoyan with panelists

GLENDALE—The Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Anxiety forum held on Wednesday, December 5 was the second in a series of community forums organized in partnership with the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of Western USA and the Pacific Clinics community behavioral health center.

More than 75 community members gathered at the Glendale Youth Center and received a wide breadth of information from an expert panel, including panelists: PsyD. Charles Pilavian, Clinical Psychologist Rusanna Jurian, and Psychiatrist Sarkis Arevian. Psychiatrist Arakel Davtian served as moderator, and presented the overall program objectives and each presenter.

ARS Regional Executive Chairperson Lena Bozoyan explained what the ARS does within the community and stressed the importance of discussing the issues important to our community, while Dr. Emma Oshagan, Director of Armenian Program Development at Pacific Clinics, explained the types of services, which are provided to culturally Armenian clients at Pacific Clinics.

The first presenter, Dr. Pilavian who works for the County of Los Angeles, defined and explained anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and touched upon panic attacks, hyper-arousal, irritability and agitation. He noted that human beings are very adaptable beings, they adapt to new conditions very easily, but when the trauma experienced by someone is so severe that it is beyond the capacity of the individual to tolerate it, then, it could result in PTSD.  He explained that in terms of recovery from psychological disorders, the more someone is able to express himself, the better it is; the more someone becomes more isolated, the worst the situation becomes.

Depression was the subject presented by the second presenter, Rusanna Jurian, who works as an intern-counselor for the ARS Child, Youth and Family Guidance Center.  After defining the symptoms of depression, she presented the signs, causes and types of depression. Jurian explained the differences on how men and women deal with depression, in addition to those of children’s experiences. She said that counselors can help recognize signs of depression, while talking and listening encourages sharing feelings of depression.

The final speaker was Dr. Sarkis Arevian, who continues to practice psychiatry. He continued the discussion on depression, bringing into focus the serious illness, the reactions of Armenians due to cultural influences, depression of the elderly, the difference between less severe and severe depression, the role of therapy sessions and medications, and the biggest problem of all: accepting that they have a problem. He summed it up as, “When you are anxious, you get hopeless and you feel trapped; you get depressed.”

The audience had a lot to share with and ask the panelists. One statistic that Jurian had shared with the audience was that the U.S. was the top country with depression, while Armenia was ranked 25. Dr. Arevian explained that the norm in Armenia is slightly depressed, hence people consider themselves depressed only if they are suffering more than what is essentially the norm.

The last session of the upcoming community forum will be:

Divorce and Child Custody
Wednesday, December 19, 2012 – 6-8 pm
Glendale Youth Center (211 W. Chestnut St., Glendale, CA)
Panelists: Rev. Ghevond Kirazian, Maral Babian, PhD, PsyD; Mariam Vanounts, MFT
Moderator: Suzanne Douzmanian, Chairperson, Armenian Advisory Board, Pacific Clinics

For additional information on the community forum series, visit facebook.com/arswusa or contact the ARS Regional Headquarters at (818) 500-1343.

The ARS of Western USA, established in 1984 and with regional headquarters in Glendale, CA, has 27 chapters and more than 1,500 members in five western states. The ARS-WUSA operates a Social Services Division, a Child, Youth, and Family Guidance Center, and funds numerous youth programs, scholarships and relief efforts.

For further information, please visit www.arswestusa.org or call 818-500-1343.

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