CHAI Rolls Out “Mental Health Interventions” On the occasion of 72nd CHAI Foundation Day
The CHAI foundation day celebration programme commenced with observing a few minutes of silence to mourn the demise of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the former President of India. following it, Rev Dr Tomi Thomas, IMS, Director-General of CHAI, welcomed the gathering. “CHAI is the largest health care network in the world, and in India it is the second largest health care provider after the government. In India, adolescents (10-19 years) constitute 21.4 per cent of the population, comprising one-fifth of the total population. Among them 22 percent of adolescents have a mental or behavioural problem; depression is on the rise and around 90 percent of them currently do not receive any specialist service. Hence, as a first step of foraying into addressing Adolescent Mental Health Issues, CHAI has invited Principals, and Counsellors/Teachers from School and Junior Colleges from the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad for the orientation on the mental health issues among adolescents during the 72nd CHAI Foundation Day”, he said in his welcome address.
He then welcomed Dr Lalitha Kumari, Director of Health, Government of Telangana, as well as Dr Freida S Chavez, Director of Global Affairs Office & Associate Professor, University of Toronto; Dr Babu P, Faculty, Institute of Mental Health, SWEEKAR and UPKAR; Dr K Ashok Reddy, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health; and Dr A T Thressiakutty, HOD, Institute of Special Education, SWEEKAR & UPKAR; the guests of honour, on to the dais.
All the dignitaries together then lit the lamp. Two staff members of CHAI, Mr David Skinner and Mr Sundar Raj were felicitated by the Chief Guest on completing 25 years of service in the organization.
In her key-note address, Dr Lalitha Kumari said that CHAI member institutions are providing affordable and accessible services to the most marginalized people. Students today especially adolescents are under tremendous stress due to academic work load as well as non-availability of parents due to their work pressure. She appreciated CHAI for entering into the domain of mental health and appealed the Principals, Counsellors and Teachers in the gathering to be part of the noble cause.
Dr Dr Freida S Chavez mentioned in her address that an educational institution is one of the first places were mental health issues are recognized and addressed. She assured all her support to CHAI in taking forward the proposed school mental health interventions.
Following this, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between University of Toronto and the Catholic Health Association of India.
Then two sessions on the theme “Responding to Adolescent Mental Health Issues” were conducted by Dr P Babu and Dr K Ashok Reddy. This was followed by a Question & Answer session, moderated by Dr A T Thressiakutty.
After this, Fr Arputham Arulsamy, Asst to the Director-General, rolled out CHAI’s comprehensive plan for Adolescent Health which includes capacity-building of teachers on methods to improve the psycho social competence and resilience of the adolescents, formation of volunteers group, establishing a tele-help line for teachers helping them to contact experts etc.
The programme concluded with a vote of thanks by Mr Sundar Bunga, Head, HR- and Strategic Planning, CHAI.