Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Panel discussion on mental health issues held

Nagaland News

Dimapur, November 5: Mental Health Support Group and CMHP, Prodigals’ Home today organized a panel discussion on “Understanding mental health issues – Naga context” in the conference hall of DC Dimapur with Dr. Temsuyanger (Psychiatrist), SMO, DMHP and Fr. Joe Mariadhas, Director, SHALOM Rehabilitation Centre, Chumoukedima as resource persons.
Sachin Jaiswal, IAS, Deputy Commissioner, Dimapur, in his keynote address stressed on the importance of mental health and talking about the issues at various levels. He lamented the fact that there is shortage of psychiatrists and mental health professionals in Nagaland and thereby many people are deprived of much needed services. He concluded by saying that timely intervention related to mental health is very important and that timely intervention can help reduce the burden to a large extent.
Dr. Temsuyanger spoke specifically on misconceptions related to mental health disorder and cautioned the gathering not to fall prey to misconceptions. He stressed that treatment works and encouraged the gathering not to shy away from seeking help when the need arises. He stated that many people confuse between acute and chronic mental illness, which he stated often lead to misunderstanding about the illness. Acute mental illness, as opposed to chronic, is short term and often the issue gets resolved even without medication or treatment. Chronic is when the mental illness prolongs for long and needs medical intervention besides psychological counselling and spiritual intervention.
Fr. Joe dwelled on the definition and importance of mental health, the concept of counselling, the role of counsellors, the role of churches in addressing the issue of mental health/illness and how we must be open minded when dealing with persons with mental illness, persons who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Fr. Joe, in highlighting that addiction to drugs and alcohol is a serious issue, also stressed that there are other kinds of addiction which we all need to introspect. He also stated that in one way or the other, we all have mental health issues and thus stressed on the importance of seeking help just as we seek help for physical issues.
K. Ela, Director of Prodigals’ Home shared about the concept, strategy, success and challenges of Community Mental Health Program me(CMHP) funded by Azim Premji Foundation since June 2020 and how the programme has brought much awareness in the community whilst making the organization more aware and educated on the issue of mental health.
K. Nifato Chishi, acting secretary, DoYM, WSBAK, was the observer of the day’s panel discussion. He stated that Naga society has feminised mental illness and thus likened it to an illness that should not affect a male; this, he said is fuelling toxic masculinity and thereby stigmatising the illness further. He also pointed out that the conflict of culture, vis-a-vis Naga culture and foreign culture is also creating havoc in the lives of youngsters.
Sharing from personal experience, he said that one should never judge a person without understanding the underlying factors that makes the person behave as he/she does. He pointed out that the Church can do so much in addressing the issue of mental illness but owing mostly to ignorance, the issue is not addressed as it should.
The Mental Health Support Group, formed on 10th October, 2022, is comprised of District administration, Dimapur, Office of the Commissioner of Police, Dimapur, District Legal Services Authority, Dimapur, Office of the district Welfare Officer, Dimapur, Central Jail, Dimapur, District Jail, Dimapur, District Mental Health Program, Dimapur, Officer of the DEO, Dimapur, Prodigals’ Home (NGO) and Gracious Life Foundation (NGO).
(Page News Service)