New Delhi: The recently concluded 21st World Congress of Mental Health was a four-day event full of insightful discussions and deliberations on an issue that is only slowly coming out of the closet in India-mental health.
Some very eminent panelists and speakers formed a part of the event focusing on bringing mental health to the center stage from the periphery.
The final day began with an experiential workshop on yoga. Key sessions for the day included Bollywood star Ileana D’Cruz’s experiential narrative on her struggle with depression and Body Dysmorphic Disorder, discussion on the role-played by sports in mental well-being, the Vishwa Samwad and the valedictory address by Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi.
Sharing their experiences about the conference, the organising chairmen, Dr Sunil Mittal, Director CIMBS India, and co-founder and past president, Indian Association of Private Psychiatry; and Dr Neelam Kumar Bohra, Patron, Delhi Psychiatric Society, and former President, Indian Association of Biological Psychiatry said, “It is that moment when the deliberations have come to an end, albeit only theoretically. Practically, there is much more to be achieved and much headway to make in the area of making better mental healthcare a reality and removing the stigma around the condition in our country. We congratulate all the awardees. We were also honoured to have Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, a champion working for the cause of child rights, share his experiences. All in all, the four-day World Congress has been a great journey. Now is the time for action.”
Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi delivered the valedictory address at the event, sharing his experiences with the Kailash Satyarthi Children Foundation and Bachpan Bachao Aandolan.
He said, “When we rescue children from different places, we have noticed that they become mentally scarred. They need help and mental health counseling. In the last three to four decades, we have realized the importance of forging partnerships. There are four groups of children, I would like to specifically mention children being sold and bought like animals; those confined to workplaces globally; children living in conflict areas/victims of natural disaster; and specially-abled children.”
“Most of them are suffering from some or the other form of mental health issues. The psychological help they need is not available to them presently. India needs at least 55,000 mental health workers compared to the current number of 7000. Proper infrastructure to extend help to them is lacking in most parts of the world. This conference can lay the foundation for deeper and stronger partnerships. There are 3As needed in the field of mental health: Acceptability, Availability of support, and Affordability. It is important to have a child’s eye to look at the world.”
Adding his views, Chief Guest, Satyendar Jain, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Government of NCT Delhi, in his address said that there needs to be a fine balance between ‘give and take’. There is an urgent need to give back to the society. The government supports the cause of mental health and will make all efforts to ensure that such initiatives are accorded full support always.
Awards were given away to Special Olympian Ranveer Saini and Paralympian Pooja and a few others from the Amar Jyoti School during the session on sports and mental health.
The four-day event brought forward the importance of destigmatizing mental health and encouraging people to seek help.
It also provided an important platform to discuss and deliberate on the way forward in mental healthcare and the need to bring it to the center stage.