‘SAMBAV: Health Professionals as Mental Health Facilitators’
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‘SAMBAV: Health Professionals as Mental Health Facilitators’

June 23, 2021

Symposia to augment mental health services held

Mysore/Mysuru: The psychological impact on millions of people due to COVID-19 pandemic can be devastating. The psychological impact can be from stress or economic socio occupational disruption and people may suffer from fear of infection, anger, anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, increased substance use, or relapse of psychiatric disorders. 

This can be of great concern for India, which already has high mental health morbidity, with 197.3 million people affected which includes 45.7 million due to depression and 44.9 million due to anxiety, according to Government of India, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), global burden study 2017.

There have been media reports about suicide related to COVID scenario in India and case studies on self harm reported. It is in this background, there is an urgent need to consider a plan of action for mitigating the psychological impact of COVID outbreak in the coming months and to enable psychological recovery of people in India. It is a matter of concern that India has the lowest number of mental health experts according to WHO mental health atlas 2017, there are 0.4 psychiatrists per 1,00,000 populations. Hence, it is imperative to consider the empowerment of available human resources. Imparting training to Health Professionals as Mental Health Facilitators across the country can be one of the feasible ways to build a human resource that enables psychological support for millions of affected people in the COVID-19 crisis and during the aftermath of pandemic, particularly in coming months.  

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JSS Medical College (JSS MC), JSS Academic Higher Education & Research (JSS AHER), Mysuru, had organised two-day symposia to augment mental health services, ‘SAMBAV: Health Professionals as Mental Health Facilitators.’

More than 300 delegates participated in this online interactive event, facilitated by multidisciplinary experts in mental health from India and abroad led by Prof. Mohan Isaac of University of Western Australia, who chaired and moderated the sessions. 

Dr. M. Kishor, P.K. Sudheep, Dr. K. Kiran Kumar, Dr. H.R. Vinay and Dr. Praveen Kulkarni were the resource persons.  

JSS AHER Pro-Chancellor Prof. B. Suresh emphasised the  need to study resilience in Indian context. JSS AHER Vice-Chancellor Dr. Surinder Singh called for more efforts to enhance mental health services. JSS AHER Registrar and JSS MC Principal & Dean Dr. H. Basavanagowdappa called for addressing fear and anxiety among public health due to misinformation. JSS Hospital Director Dr. (Col.) M. Dayananda emphasised on the need to address frontline workers, who have faced challenges. Dr. Rajesh Raman, Head of Psychiatry, JSS MC and Prof. T.S. Sathyanarayana Rao, Hon. Gen. Secretary, Indian Psychiatric Society,  commended the initiative.

Dr. M.N. Suma, Vice-Principal, JSS MC, supported the entire organisation of symposia. Dr. M. Kishor, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at JSS MC, JSS AHER, organised the symposia. 

Based on delegates’ requests, the proceedings of symposia are being made available on the official YouTube platform of JSS AHER.

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