December 2019

The Scottish Ahlul Bayt Society was delighted to have participated in a conference on the Spiritual, Health and Well-being Perspectives on Loneliness, Isolation and Dementia, organised by the Edinburgh International Centre for Spirituality and Peace, EICSP.

We were pleased to have invited and had the support of Dr Hashim Reza who represented SABS and spoke alongside other psychiatrists, psychotherapists, experts and stakeholders with connection to the theme. Dr Reza is Specialist Adviser of Health Informatics at the The Royal College of Psychiatrists and chairs the Informatics Committee of that College. And he is appointed Consultant Psychiatrist, Caldicott Guardian and Clinical Lead for Informatics at the Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust.

All speakers shared their knowledge of isolation and dementia as it affects communities, families and individuals. Some visceral and emotive pictures were painted of the forms, causes, and impacts of isolation. Medical expertise was shared along with statistics on the nature of dementia, and the facilities and services that exist to support all those who suffer it or care for the suffering. Discussion was had around how faiths and people of no faith can develop preventative measures, safety nets and support systems. And above all, deep thought and consideration was given to the centricity of the spiritual dimension in providing healing and comfort to people in contemporary society.

Whilst being informative in nature, the event was witness to the strength of the human spirit in surmounting obstacles, and it was heartening to see people with shared concern coming together to discuss ways in which we can operationally support the less fortunate.

Our thanks extend to Neill Walker and Ian Wight PhD FCIP GTB Senior Scholar, City Planning, Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba, for organising the conference.