New Delhi, Oct 8 (PTI) The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on psychosocial wellbeing of people, the government said on Thursday and stressed on promoting community sensitisation, family counselling and support, and teachers' counselling to tackle complex mental health issues.
Addressing a virtual ‘International Conference on Mental Health: Looking Beyond COVID-19’, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Shakuntala D Gamlin, highlighted the need for addressing increasing incidence of mental health issues.
'The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on psychosocial wellbeing and is likely to add the disease burden across the globe,' she said.
'There is a need to promote community sensitization, family counselling and support, teachers' counselling, awareness at all levels and develop appropriate policy and programme intervention to tackle the complex issues of mental health rehabilitation,' Gamlin said.
The conference was inaugurated by Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot.
Gehlot spoke about the recent initiatives of the government such as setting up of the National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation at Sehore, Madhya Pradesh, and the KIRAN mental health rehabilitation helpline for addressing mental health issues.
Barry O'Farrell, High Commissioner of Australia, gave a broad overview of the mental health situation in his country.
He stressed on the need for taking up joint initiatives by both governments through their respective institutes to promote research in the rehabilitation sector including mainstreaming of persons with mental illness.
The conference had five technical sessions wherein experts from India and Australia touched upon issues such as stress management for frontline non-health workers, maintaining mental health, working from home, suicide and associated media reporting in India.
The conference was organised by Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, in association with the University of Melbourne, Australia, as a part of joint initiative under the memorandum of understanding signed in 2018 between the governments of Australia and India for cooperation in the disability sector. PTI UZM ANB ANB