The Ramon Magsaysay Transformative Leadership Institute (RMTLI) Lecture Series featuring 2022 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Sotheara Chhim from Cambodia will hold his free online public lecture on Nov. 16 at 3:00 – 5:00 PM (Manila time).
Dr. Chhim, a psychiatrist and mental health advocate, received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for his efforts in providing psychological and mental care at the grassroots level for over 20 years through the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) Cambodia.
He will deliver a lecture on the topic “Towards Collective Healing: Mental Health Lessons from Cambodia” addressing two complex mental health and psychosocial problems in his country.
One stems from the past genocide experience from the Khmer Rouge, and the other one is the current mental health and psychosocial problems that his people are facing.
Dr. Chhim studied medicine at Phnom Penh’s University of Health Sciences and was among Cambodia’s first psychiatrists to graduate after years of war.
In 2002, he became the executive director of Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO), the largest non-government organization in the field of mental health care and psychosocial support in Cambodia.
TPO-Cambodia’s activities include gender-based violence counseling for victims of rape, forced marriages, among others.
Dr. Chhim and TPO worked on the “Truth, Trauma, and the Victims of Torture” project where they practiced “testimonial therapy” (survivors put into writing their traumatic experiences.)
He has also served as an expert witness at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal investigating the Cambodian genocide.
As a mental health advocate, Dr. Chhim says: “People should remember that mental health problems can affect everyone, no one is immune from it. There is no need to be embarrassed for having mental health problems. It is not a weakness to say that you have mental health problems and you need help. Now, there are more treatment options available, so please do not deal with mental health problems alone. Your life could be better if you seek help, so please stop hiding, speak out and seek help on time”.
Dr. Sotheara Chhim’s free online public lecture will be livestreamed on Nov. 16, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM (Manila Time) on the Ramon Magsaysay Award’s official Facebook Page and YouTube channel.
This public lecture is part of the 64th Ramon Magsaysay Awards Festival Season.