The Mental Health Foundation (MHF) in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, Social
Development and Labor (VSA) recently hosted a free viewing of the 34 th Annual International Boston
Trauma Conference at the Government Administration Building daily from May 17 th through 20 th , 2023.
MHF purchased virtual access to the 4-day conference and worked along VSA to secure a viewing space.
Based on this collaboration, MHF was able to invite all mental health care workers, allied professionals
and mental health enthusiast (students) to participate in the 4-day conference free of charge.
Professionals from approximately 15 organizations who render some sort of mental health within their
organizational capacity were present over the course of 4 days, including educational, insurance,
addiction, occupational therapy, youth care and rehabilitation organizations, as well as private
psychology practices and government care-departments.
Participants were able to gain deeper understanding of how trauma impacts the connection between
mind, brain, body and social organizations and the optimal clinical interventions to facilitate restoration
of safety and regulation, as well as the societal factors underscoring traumatic experiences. Participants
were privy to new research, interventions and outcomes via the varied featured presentations including,
Building Resilience in the Face of Trauma, Healing Attachments Wounds and Trauma Using Pesso
Boyden Systems Psychomotor Therapy (PBSP), Psychedelic Assisted Therapies, Internal Family Systems
Therapy in Addiction, Basic Clinical Science, and Innovative Treatments. Participants also viewed key
note presentations by key leaders in the field of trauma including Gabor Mate, Richard Schwartz and
Bessel van der Kolk.
The conference is hosted each year by Bessel van der Kolk, MD, who is a notable psychiatrist,
researcher, best-selling author and educator of Dutch origins based in Boston. He is most famed for his
contributions in post-traumatic stress, which was the basis of the conference.
MHF’s motivation for the conference was to facilitate a space for collective learning and skills building
for their staff and peers in the mental health field in a shared space. The initiative, which was the first of
its kind, also encouraged networking and rapport building among the mental health professionals from
all the areas that make the mental health field. Participation commenced with a promising start, though
it gently dwindled towards the end with the holiday and weekend included. As such, MHF acknowledged
and gifted 3 participants who demonstrated outstanding attendance with van der Kolk’s best-selling
book, “the body keeps the score” and other personalized MHF trinkets.
The virtual viewing of the conference closed with a mental health care provider’s mixer, during which
MHF revealed its 2023 mental health theme, “Policies for a Mentally-Fit Community.” The new theme
will replace the previous, “Prioritize your Mind,” and future prevention and information efforts will
reflect the message of the new theme in accordance with MHF’s awareness calendar.
MHF is motivated to host future similar events and will incorporate initiatives geared towards the
general public, in efforts of raising awareness for mental health. The organization welcomes
collaboration among stakeholders in the field and other support networks to expand potential impact
MHF would like to thank the Ministry of VSA for their support and congratulates all participants for
maximizing on this opportunity.