Mon, 21 Oct 2019

Meet this Kashmiri girl who is studying MSc in War and Psychiatry to find ways to cope with trauma in conflict areas

Posted on Monday, July 29, 2019

Zahida Ishaq War is pursuing an MSc in War and Psychiatry from King’s College, London after receiving a fully-funded scholarship, writes Shivangi Mishra

Our surroundings play a crucial role in shaping our interests and sometimes our career choices. This holds true for Srinagar born Zahida Ishaq War, who saw her family and friends struggling due to the evergoing conflict in Jammu & Kashmir. The mental stress and fear-driven environment motivated Zahida to take up a career in psychology. After completing her graduation in BA (Hons) in Psychology from Ashoka University, Zahida bagged a fully-funded seat to pursue an MSc in War and Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College, London.

“Growing up in a conflict-ridden region exposed me to the daily struggle people had to undergo. This led me to venture in psychology to find solutions to their mental health problems,” says Zahida. “The master’s course will give me a deeper understanding of the psychology of war and conflict, from a theoretical and practical point of view. I want to understand how civilians, as well as the armed forces, deal with the psychological trauma of war,” says Zahida, whose parents are carpet dealers in Kashmir.

After completing her master’s, Zahida wants to pursue a PhD. She plans to return to Kashmir to start a research-based centre for resilience, to develop sophisticated interventions for traumatised people.

“I want to provide preventive mental health interventions and help people deal with conflicts. Since children and youth are the most affected, I plan to offer consultations in schools, colleges and work with children experiencing psychological hardships,” adds Zahida, who received the STEM scholarship from British Council to pursue the programme.

These aspirations would not have materialised, says Zahida if it was not for the scholarship. “My mother happened to find out about the scholarship on social media. I immediately completed my application form, where I was asked to write about my experiences and aspirations,” she says.
“Studying in the UK will give me access to quality education and peer learning,” she says.

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