Mental illness is directly linked to educational outcome and schools can enhance the nature of interventions by addressing the problem early. To make this possible one mandatory psychologist should be placed at every school, said commissioner of Social Welfare, Nidhi Kesarwani, on Tuesday.
NIdhi was speaking at the ‘One-day state level workshop on child and adolescent psychiatry and mental health-focus on caring for children with mental disorders’ held at Lamyanba Shanglen organised by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in collaboration with the Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MCPCR).
She further mentioned that psychologists or counselors are mandatory at every school though Manipur government schools are not taking initiative due to lacking of assistance.
She said unaddressed mental morbidity or psychological disorders in children can impede their cognitive and emotional development and render them unfit to cope with social stress and pressures of growing up.
Unfortunately, children find it more difficult than adults to express themselves and reach out for help and so it is important to closely watch them and build emotional attachment, she added.
“There is nothing like incurable disorder, if we overcome it with thorough and proper procedure,” said Nidhi.
She also said that mental illness is more prevalent in urban than in rural areas. In rural areas family is very close to children and they are very close to nature also. No pollutants are encountered as that of urban children, and hence, attachment is more in rural families, she added, further explaining that behavioural change in children can be easily spotted.
The recommendations of the one-day workshop were that the parent, guardian of mentally ill children should not conceal the mental condition of their child. Being the caretakers of such children they must actively take initiative for the rehabilitation of the child and must tend to their needs for their betterment.
Moreover, in light of the present situation in Manipur, it is crucial that NGO’s concerned with child care should routinely organise free mental health camps across all districts of the state, it noted, adding in such camps, the children are to be examined by a child psychologist, and proper steps should be taken in order to improve detection of poor mental health of children so that proper treatment can be given.
It is essential that there is no lapse of communication between the teachers and parents of such mentally affected children, and for the benefit and wellbeing of the child, there should be cooperation and coordination between teachers and parents in regards to the child mental health, pointed out the recommendation.
The workshop was attended by Sumatibala Ningthoujam, chairperson MCPCR, L Ranbir, professor of Pediatrics, JNIMS, Paresh Shah, senior technical expert – Northeast cell and education division NCPCR.
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In the technical session, Dr Mona Nongmaithem, MC (Psychiatry) Shija Hospital spoke on psychological, emotional, social and economic challenge faced by parent, guardians when caring for mentally ill children.
Dr RK Lenin, psychiatrist, RIMS, spoke on “Child psychiatry and mental disorder among children” while MC Arun, HOD, psychology department, MU, spoke on “Role of parents, guardian, teacher in dealing with children having mental disorders, and Dr L Roshan spoke on “Rehabilitation and treatment services available for children suffering from mental disorders”.mental illness, mental health