Mental Health Fraternity of Gujrat unites to discuss importance of Adolescent Mental Health
Gujarat: The Mental Wellbeing of the global population has suffered during the pandemic. Our young minds have borne the brunt of school closures, a sudden shift to online learning and strict social distancing protocols. Against this background, the Adolescent Health Academy, UNICEF, Gujarat Youth Forum and Elixir Foundation organized '#MentalHealthMatters: Understanding Mindfulness...
Gujarat: The Mental Wellbeing of the global population has suffered during the pandemic. Our young minds have borne the brunt of school closures, a sudden shift to online learning and strict social distancing protocols. Against this background, the Adolescent Health Academy, UNICEF, Gujarat Youth Forum and Elixir Foundation organized '#MentalHealthMatters: Understanding Mindfulness and Wellbeing' a daylong session on February 20 with experts from across Gujarat to facilitate critical dialogue on the wellbeing of adolescents.
Speaking during the programme, Dr Sravan Chenji, Health Officer, UNICEF stressed upon the impact of the pandemic on children as well as teenagers. He said, "The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the economic status of families, particularly those belonging to the working class. The brief period of financial insecurity has had a significant impact on the mental health of parents and consequently their children, especially children belonging to vulnerable groups."
His address was followed by an insightful talk from Sharmila Ray, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF. She said, "The first step in improving the mental health realities of India - is acceptance. Acceptance without any fear, shame or taboo. It is important for parents, students, young people, doctors, practitioners, NGOs and government departments to come together as a community to collectively further improve acceptance and awareness around mental health alongside bettering both service access and quality in the state. UNICEF is committed to facilitate dialogue between all concerned stakeholders in this respect."
Dr Nishchal Bhatt, Chairperson of AHAA said, "Adolescence is a formative time, characterized by great opportunity and vulnerability. As a society, we need to ensure that we are working hard towards ensuring psychological, social and emotional wellbeing of our children during this time."
The session concluded with a poignant address from Nishra Sejpal, a youth mental health advocate who poignantly addressed the need to have more open dialogue about mental health. She highlighted that "Young people and adolescents make up our nation and thus it is of utmost importance to prioritize their wellbeing in the journey towards sustainable development."
As a part of the programme, three workshops were organized convening experts from the Mental Health fraternity of Gujarat. The first workshop was titled: 'Hum-Tum Dialogue: Challenges faced by parents and teenagers. The workshop was facilitated by Dr Nishchal Bhatt, Chairperson, AHAA who was accompanied by Dr Hiral Naik, Secretary AHAA and Dr Deepika Jain, A Developmental Pediatrician. Dr Bhatt began the workshop by shedding light on the psychological, social and physical changes that occur during the period of adolescence. Dr Hiral Naik stressed upon changing parental styles and parenting dynamics and its impact on the mental wellbeing of adolescents. Dr Deepika Jain shared insights on how parenting styles can be changed to accommodate changes during adolescence.
The second workshop on 'Mental Health and Adolescence' was moderated by Dr Satish Pandya, a Senior Pediatrician and Adolescent Experts from Vadodara and hosted experts - Dr Punita Grover,Psychiatrist; Dr Preeti Hemani, Pediatrician; Dr Amole Patel, Developmental Pediatrician; and Dr Deepika Jain, Developmental Pediatrician. The different experts shed light on the common mental health issues faced by adolescents during the pandemic and how the adolescent, the parents and the teachers can come together to seek the right help. There was an extensive discussion on the various counselling and therapy opportunities that exist and their benefits for teenagers. The session ended with some interactive audience Q&A as many participants asked for advice regarding their mental wellbeing.
A fruitful discussion on the factors that impact the wellbeing of adolescents was also held and moderated by Dr Neema Sitapara, Pediatrician. The experts on the panel for this discussion included Dr Nehal Shah, Psychiatrist; Dr Hiral Naik, Secretary, AHAA; Dr Amola Patel, Developmental Pediatrician; and Dr Unmesh Upadhyay, Pediatrician. Valuable insights emerged from the discussion focusing on the detrimental impact that screen time and digital media exposure is having on the mental wellbeing of young minds.
In his concluding remarks, Dr Nishchal Bhatt stressed on the importance of collaborating and taking action for the mental wellbeing of adolescents.
# Link to inaugural session: https://fb.watch/bjeSpk8wVp/
# Link to Hum-Tum Dialogue: https://www.facebook.com/GujaratYouthOrg/videos/698123878234316/
# Link to Mental Health and Adolescence: https://fb.watch/bhZe8kZQo5/
# Link to Digital Media, Addiction and Obesity on the Health of Adolescents: https://www.facebook.com/GujaratYouthOrg/videos/2213954135423472/