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Mental health and well-being of children: An eye-opener

Schools in Jammu have established a psychological task force comprising of teachers that will help nourish children's mental health. This task force is an addition to the already existing tele-counseling services (psycho-social, career, and child protection) that the Directorate of School Education Jammu (DSEJ), the department of education undertook for the students in every district.

Jammu and Kashmir have been witness to continuous violence for as long as one can remember. With the pandemic taking over the world and lockdown imposed worldwide and in the country, children in Jammu district face rising Mental health and well-being problems. Read on to know more about how Jammu schools tackle mental health issues.

To fight the mental health issues among the younger generation of their district, the education industry of Jammu instituted around 113 members of faculty, all with a background of Post Graduation in Psychology. These faculty members will be trained to develop various counseling and well-being skills under professional organizations and individuals’ guidance.

“the need of the hour is to undertake guidance and counselling interventions more aggressively to ensure mental health and well-being, career awareness and protection of the learners at school level during and post COVID-19 era,” said Head Counselling Cell DSEJ, Romesh Kumar Sharma.

Anuradha Gupta, Director School Education, Jammu, also stated that the concerns related to mental health are specifically focused on the little kids and teenagers, especially those with disabilities. This situation calls for an empathetic and patient approach, which is the need of the hour. She believes that educators, with their backgrounds in psychology, can prove to be the best facilitators.

The Head of institutions of respective schools have been advised to seek support from all faculty members during this time. They are encouraging various schools to allow the staff members, who have M.A in psychology, to be a part of the mental health and well-being initiative. They can collaborate in the several psycho-social interventions in consultation with the counseling cell. 

Also, Anadolu Agency executed interviews and researches with the families residing in Jammu. It has come to light that hundreds of mental health issues were reported among children and adolescents at child guidance and well-being center, run by UNICEF. 

“We have provided psychiatric help and counseling sessions to almost 300 cases since the COVID-19 outbreak – 90% of cases through telephone and 10% face-to-face sessions,” said Farhana Yaseen, a clinical psychologist

The study also suggested that in all cases, children had developed anxiety and depression symptoms that were all high-risk under the global crisis. Most of them are known to surface because of the COVID-19 news covering death and infected numbers globally. 
The kids who have underlying mental wellness issues are slowly developing the fear of catching the infection, leading to a deterioration in their mental peace. 
Consequently, the World Health Organization suggested “minimal consumption of such news in any form by kids and teenagers”.

“First of all, we need to limit the COVID-19 news for children, especially to those who have underlying mental health problems,” quoted Yasir Rather, a psychiatrist at the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in the capital Srinagar

With the education industry and health organizations coming together to focus more on psychological wellness than ever before, the country seems to be heading towards a more acceptable post-COVID-19 era. The education sector in Jammu has already paced up to spread mental health awareness, guiding the little ones and the adolescents in every step as the world fight to loosen the pandemic’s tight grip. These small steps in forms of a humanitarian cause still give one hope and confidence in life. 

Srishti Bajaj
Srishti Bajaj
Srishti is a pastry-chef turned writer. She is a copywriter, a blog editor, and sometimes a backpacker translating visuals into words. She is always up for new challenges, meeting new people, and heading to the mountains.
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