Experts during a virtual briefing hosted by SOS Children’s Villages India

Experts highlighted during a virtual briefing hosted by SOS Children’s Villages India ahead of World Mental Health Day that identifying mental health concerns in children that can be treated with medical interventions is often delayed due to a lack of awareness.

According to the WHO, the burden of mental health problems in India is estimated to be 2443 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) per 10,000 people, whereas the National Health Survey 2016 found that 6-7% of the population suffers from mental disorders.

It is critical to ensure, sustain, and improve mental well-being in order to help children reach their full potential.

Mr. Sumanta Kar, Secretary General of SOS Children’s Villages India, and Ms. Reena Chhatriya, SOS Mother, were present, as was Dr. Nimesh G. Desai, President and Mentor of Manovikas E-Gyanshala; Former Director of the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS); Former Faculty Member, National Institute of Mental Health & Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore and AIIMS.

“It is not only crucial to sensitise children, caregivers, and family members about mental health, but it is also important to sensitise peers about the gravity of this subject and how they can support someone coping with the issue in numerous ways.” Family and peer support are essential.”

Dr. Nimesh G. Desai stated,

“Withdrawal, rage issues, abrupt changes in food or sleeping habits, and such require attention, address, and assistance, Negative ideas, pessimism, and hopelessness, whether expressed directly or indirectly, should be seen as a red flag. Our assumption that youngsters do not have suicidal tendencies was proven false a decade ago.

Unfortunately, children suffer from depression, whether as a result of their genetic composition or as a result of circumstances, stress, and so on. Adolescence is a sensitive period in which children experience severe emotional turmoil in addition to physical and mental changes. Humans’ general resilience is greater at a young age, and as a demographic sub-group, they do well, despite obvious and severe distress; this aids in getting through with minimal to moderate care, but some young people may require specialised professional attention.”

Dr. Desai said of early symptom identification.

“At SOS Children’s Villages India, we take mental well-being very seriously. Initiatives to enhance this vital aspect of health are taken consistently for Mothers, caregivers, children, and co-workers. The pandemic was an extremely challenging phase, for which EmoAid, among others, was introduced. Besides this, for children, programs like the resilience building program, the new child entry program, and the positive youth development program are some examples. The health of the caregiver or Mother is paramount, as they carry such an important responsibility on their shoulder. Programs such as Emotional Literacy and SEL have been actively introduced. The crux remains that having a solid support system is essential. This includes family, siblings, and friends. All of our Basket of Care Solutions work toward this goal by preventing child abandonment and/or providing family-like care to parentless or abandoned youngsters. Spending meaningful time with children and having a caring home atmosphere are essential for children’s mental health. It is critical to encourage children’s participation in all decision-making at a young age and to help them develop social skills. Caregivers should make time for themselves while focusing on the well-being of their children.”

Mr. Sumanta Kar commented,

“I have been associated with SOS Children’s Villages India for over eight years and have raised ten children so far, Children come from various origins and have diverse histories, thus each child must be handled individually. A wide range of professionals provide multi-dimensional help for this. I recall the epidemic, when the situation was exceptionally difficult since we were all confined; anxiety and stress levels were high due to uncertainty and dread. We tried to pass the time by cooking magnificent meals from recipes found on the internet, meditating, yoga, dancing, playing innovative indoor games, and participating in other group activities. Furthermore, it is critical to monitor, stay aware, and keep communication channels open.”

SOS Mother Reena Chhatriya stated.

The session also found that greater interest in mental health concerns was attributed to societal acceptance of the same. As people become aware, they seek assistance early enough for therapies to be effective.

About SOS Children’s Villages of India

SOS Children’s Villages of India, founded in 1964, provides children without parental care or at risk of losing it with a value chain of excellent care services that extends beyond childcare alone, ensuring entire child development.

Our tailored care interventions, such as Family Like Care, Family Strengthening, Kinship Care, Short Stay Homes, Foster Care, Youth Skilling, Emergency Childcare, and Special Needs Childcare, aim to transform lives and empower children in care to become self-sufficient and contributing members of society.

The charity helps disadvantaged families in communities become financially self-sufficient, allowing them to provide secure and caring environments for the children in their care.

Today, approximately 6,500 children reside in over 440 family houses within 32 SOS Children’s Villages of India spread throughout 22 states and union territories, from Srinagar to Kochi and Bhuj to Shillong.

Over 600 SOS Mothers and Aunts lovingly care for and love them. SOS Children’s Villages India, India’s largest self-implementing childcare NGO, directly impacts the lives of over 45,000 children each year.

This article was shared with Prittle Prattle News as a Press Release.
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