Mental Health of Students : AIIMS to launch MATE (Mind Activation Through Education) project with AAI
New Delhi: Seeking to build stronger mental health among students, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has planned to reach out to at least 2,000 school-going children in Delhi to make them more competitive, maintain positive lifestyle and to prevent any kind of mental illness in the future.
In this regard, the AIIMS has signed an MoU between the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for a unique project called MATE (Mind Activation Through Education) which is a school-wellness programme on mental health.
According to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, at any given point of time, nearly 50 million Indian children suffer from mental disorders, and this number will increase if the adolescent population is considered as well.
Experts say that the key reasons like social media, gaming, peer pressure, parental surveillance, traumatic experiences in early childhood, frequent migration, negative life events, educational setbacks, early relationship problems and family history of mental illness, as well as stress at school, contribute to mental illness of a child.
Dr Nand Kumar, a psychiatry professor at AIIMS and principal investigator of the project MATE, told ANI, "In the pilot project MATE, we have focused on students from Grade 6th to 8th as children studying are adolescents. A lot of hormonal changes occur in this age group. Children need special care and focus from their parents."
"We will reach to 2,000 students of both private and government sector. We will sensitise them on important topics like relationship with oneself, sex education, ways to cope up with difficulties, respect for self and all, substance abuse and how to maintain balance between mind and body," he said, adding that the project will be conducted on students of Grade 9 and above in the later years. Kumar said that the programme will match the biological syllabus of the respective classes and mainly in audiovisual form.
"Students would be taught to discourage sedentary lifestyle and will learn how to make appropriate use of technology. They will understand how to make balanced use of internet, reducing online gaming including mobile and social media addiction by an appropriate alternative scientific approach," said Dr Randeep Guleria, AIIMS-Director.
Anil Pathak, Members (Planning) of AAI said, "Under the project MATE, the AAI along with AIIMS would sensitise school students towards the basics of mind-body integration based on a bio-psycho-social model of functioning of the brain and body. I am glad to extend CSR support to AIIMS and will extend our support in future for any proposal from AIIMS Delhi."
There would be a workshop for students and parents in an effort to create awareness on mental health issues. The outcome of each workshop would be monitored at the end of one year.
By Priyanka Sharma