“Rescue teams should have Mental Health Professionals during Disasters since Mental Health is as important as Physical Health” aver Experts during World Mental Health Day at Amity

CelebratingWorld Mental Health Week, Amity Institute of Psychology and Allied Science(AIPS) organized lectures on the theme "Dignityin Mental Health: Psychological and Mental Health First Aid for All" atUniversity Campus, Sector-125, Noida to disseminate the importance of mentalhealth, psychological first aid and dispel the social stigma and isolationassociated with mental health.

Addressing the gathering, Prof (Dr). Abha Singh- Dean, Facultyof Applied Arts, Humanities, Journalism and Communication & Social Sciencesand Director AIPS stated that every year, World Mental Health Day iscelebrated for promoting and advocating global mental health education sincemental or psychological health is as important as physical health. She stressedthat there is a huge demand for Mental Health professionals owing to the chaosprevailing in the society and across the world. She remarked that as per WHOreports, very third person in the world needs help from a Mental HealthProfessional who is expected to extend help and intervene while remaining calm,composed and mentally strong with requisite knowledge and skills.

Delivering a lecture, Prof. (Dr) Vinod Kumar Sharma- Sr.Professor, IIPA, New Delhi stated that mental health issues and mentalhealth first aid is very important. He remarked that post disasters, theefforts of various agencies are concerted towards providing medical aid,shelter, food and basic amenities, overlooking the need to provide mental firstaid. He stressed that post disasters there are numerous mental health issuesand it is very important for counsellors to listen to the affected peoplepatiently and address mental health issues, before they turn grave. He statedthat in India, Mental Health of an individual is taken very lightly and it isnot given due importance. He suggested that students, society and Scientificand Academic Institutions have great role to play in addressing Mental Healthissues in the society and there is a dire need for building capacity in thisarea.  He stressed that every year, there is one big disaster in thecountry and rescue teams should have Mental Health Practitioners to addressmental health issues of the victims who go through physical, mental as well asemotional upheaval.

Ms. Marisa Denault- Clinical Social Worker, Ottawa, Canada, during her lecture, briefed students with MSF-Medecins SansFrontierers or Doctors without Borders, which is one of theworld's leading independent International medical relief organizations, workingin more than 70 countries worldwide and with operational centres and NationalOffices in 21 countries. She stated that every year, MSF sends thousands ofDoctors, Nurses, Mental Health Specialists, Logistical Experts, and Engineersto respond to emergencies across the world and stressed that mental health is acore component of the majority of MSF’s interventions. She shared that MSF hasmental health programmes in all emergencies interventions including HIV/TBProjects and Sexual Violence Projects. She averred that mental health includesemotional, psychological and social well-being and it affects a person’sthinking and subsequent action. Referring to MSF Project in Delhi- “Umeed KiKiran Clinic” which addresses issues related to sexual and gender basedviolence, she stated that sexual violence can have psychological, emotional andphysical effects on survivors and the impact can be serious and long lasting.Without counselling, she remarked that, negative psychological effects havebeen known to persist for atleast a year following rape or even longer in somecases.

Shestressed that it is noteworthy that with focus on comprehensiveintervention, Mental Health is getting due recognition since mental first aidneeds to be given on time in order to reduce the chances of long termpsychological problems.

Studentsfrom Amity Institute of Psychology and Allied Science presented a colorfulcultural programme during the event.

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