World Mental Health Day observed across Nagaland

World Mental Health Day observed across Nagaland
DIMAPUR | Publish Date: 10/10/2018 12:08:12 PM IST

World Mental Health Day is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma, celebrated since 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health. It is observed all over the world on October 10. This year, various organizations marked the event by hosting various programs across the state under the theme “Young people and mental health in a changing world”.

NMHP, NSLSA & DoSW: With the rest of the world, the state level World Mental Health Day program was organized by National Mental Health Programme (NMHP), directorate of Health & Family Welfare, in collaboration with Nagaland State Legal Services Authority (NSLSA) and department of Social Welfare (DoSW) Nagaland at State Mental Health Institute Kohima (SMHIK) on Wednesday.

Senior medical officer SMHIK Dr. Viketoulie speaking on the occasion said that the present world was constantly battling the effects of human rights violations, wars and violence in the home, schools and businesses. Young people, he said, were spending most of their time on the internet experiencing cyber crimes, cyber bullying, and playing violent video games.

He remarked that the number of suicide cases and substance abuse has been steadily rising. Dr. Viketoulie said young adulthood was the stage when serious mental illnesses can occur and yet they were taught little to nothing about mental health.

He asserted that it was time to take a stand and demand more for this vulnerable population because the future depends on the mental health of the world.

He advised the parents and adults to show greater understanding and sensitivity, develop healthy relationships, encourage physical activities and respect the young adult’s individuality. He listed the services available in the state for mental health at SMHI Kohima, Naga Hospital, Kripa foundation and various counselling centres in schools.

Member secretary NSLSA Mezivolu T Therieh NJS, in her address, said mental illness was one of the top stigmatized illnesses in the world. She said despite lacking infrastructure, Nagaland Mental Health Institute Kohima staff and officers were giving their best service. She remarked Nagaland has been witnessing distressing increase in the level of cases of mental illnesses and it was time for parents, family members and the society in general to recognize this increase, arising from a combination of genetics, biology and environment and life experiences. 

She said it was encouraging to see that Nagaland government has notified the Rights of Persons With Disabilities Act, 2016 dated September 27, 2018 and that it has come into force which was a long felt need of the people with disabilities.

She urged all stakeholders to come together and work for the mental health of the people by creating awareness that mental illness is curable and there is no stigma attached to mental illness or mental disabilities.

Joint director and nodal officer for disability department of social welfare K. Atoli Sema disclosed that the number of recognized disability conditions has increased from 7 to 21 and this inclusion will help more PwDs get access to the government schemes and facilities intended for the welfare of disabled people in India. She said that government job reservation for disabled persons has also gone up from 3% to 4%.

The program was chaired by Tongpang L jamir project coordinator NSLSA, welcome address was delivered by Dr. T Wabang, MS SMHIK, principal director H&FW, Dr. Vikeyie Losu also addressed the gathering. Special songs were presented by staff of SMHIK and CRC New Market. The program was attended by staff of SMHIK, members of  NSLSA, counsellors and others. (Correspondent)

MDLSA: A ‘Walkathon’, was organized by the Mokokchung District Legal Services Authority (MDLSA) on Wednesday, in collaboration with District Mental Health Program (DMHP), Health & Family Welfare, Mokokchung to mark ‘World Mental Health Day’ under the theme ‘Young people and mental health in the changing World’.

While delivering the keynote address, civil judge (jr. div) & secretary (MDLSA), Seyielenuo Mezhu stated that mental health refers to a state of well-being of a person. She said mental health can affect daily lives, relationships and physical health. She stated that the most common forms of mental problems were clinical depression, anxiety and bi-polar disorders.

Seyielenuo lamented that mentally ill persons were often illegally confined, deprived of treatment due to superstitions and stigma or due to lack of means and information. She said that it was in this context that NALSA (legal services for mentally ill and disabled persons) scheme 2015 was provided through the District Legal Services Authority. She added the scheme provides legal services to mentally ill and disabled persons in psychiatric homes, hospitals and in jails. Seyielenuo further stated that persons and their families are also being assisted to avail their rights from various governmental schemes and benefits.

Earlier, the ‘Walkathon’ was flagged off by additional SP, Mokokchung, Imtimeren, from the Town Square, which culminated at Mokokchung Park. Invocation was said by associate pastor, MTBA, Yanglo and the vote of thanks was proposed by chief medical officer, Mokokchung, Dr. Medem. (Correspondent)

DMHPK: District Mental Health Program Kohima (DMHPK), observed the day at Naga Hospital Authority Kohima (NHAK).

A press release from NHAK, DMHP Kohima stated that Dr. Nuvotso Khesoh, psychiatrist and nodal officer, Kohima highlighted the activities of DMHP.

He mentioned that “Keeping the importance of mental health with that of physical health in delivering overall health care at NHAK is a great initiation on the part of the department.”

Dr. Thorhusie Katiry, managing director (NHAK) spoke about the importance of changing the mindset of people into a positive attitude, in this generation.

He also mentioned that about 80% of the patients who come for treatment have some mental health issues.

Veronica Nriame, psychiatric social worker spoke on the theme stating that half of mental illness cases begin during the period of transition from adolescence to adulthood.

She also emphasized that life skills resilience was very essential among the young people in order to overcome adversities of life and enhance their mental health.

Dr. Ritu Thurr, chief medical officer, Kohima  in his speech said that it was very easy for any  individual to fall victim to mental disorders. There is a thin line between normal and abnormal, he said, and it is quite easy to cross that line. He also expressed his appreciation for the DMHP team, Kohima NHAK for organizing the program.

In honour of World Mental Health Day, DMHP team, Kohima also visited JO foundation and interacted with the students. Jo Foundation, located at Agri Colony, Kohima, which offers service to children with special needs. The program was chaired by Ketousenuo Phewhuo, clinical psychologist.

NU: Department of Psychology, Nagaland University (NU), celebrated the event by organizing a departmental level competition for poster presentation on the theme “young people and mental health in a changing world” on October 10.

A press release by assistant professor Dr. Imlisongla Longkumer stated that Hovisuto Khieya, assistant professor (guest faculty) of the department exhorted the gathering with the story of Natalie Hampton, the CEO and Founder of “Sit with Us” app (Mobile app to fight bullying and to promote kindness and inclusion). He stated that if Hampton, a victim of school bullying, could overcome the psychological trauma and play such a key role in the fight against bullying and in promotion of kindness at a young age of 16, then her story itself could be an inspiration for youth of this generation.

Altogether six teams participated in the competition addressing various youth mental health issues. In the poster competition, students highlighted the impact of social media and substance use on the mental health of young people today and emphasized the role of family, peer group, society and church on creating and providing a positive environment so as to promote optimum all round functioning for them.

CISHR: Adolescent and Reproductive Health and College of Nursing, Christian Institute of Health Sciences and Research (CISHR) also organized a program celebrating the event. 

A press release from CIHSR College of Nursing faculty, Lalthanzami stated that the program included a debate on the topic “Bullying is a normal part of childhood and you should ignore it’’ and choreography competition with the theme ‘mental health and illness.’  

Students and teachers from five schools -- Puda Memorial School, Highland Hall School, Unity Christian Higher Secondary School, Great Commission Kids Higher Secondary School and Government Higher Secondary School, Naga United Village -- participated in the program.

Khumjanbeni Murry, MScN psychiatric nursing, spoke on the theme for the day, “young people and mental health in a changing world”. She highlighted the various mental health issues faced by young people including bullying and its effects, common mental disorders in young people, depression in teens and suicide. 

The program and prizes for the competitions were sponsored by Talent India, pharmaceutical company, the Garden Restaurant and Evangelical Literature Service, CIHSR.

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