In view of World Mental Health Day 10th October 2020, The Departments of Psychology and Clinical Psychology at St Agnes Centre for Post Graduate Studies and Research, Mangaluru, organized an online poetry writing and film analysis competition related to mental health and also, a webinar on the topic “Investing in mental health: Role of educators” on 14-10-2020. This webinar was envisioned keeping in mind the role of educators as benefactors of a healthy work environment and also their involvement in contributing towards mental health of those who are stake holders of an education system.
The webinar began by our host, Ms Jeanne Cotta, student of Clinical Psychology, extending a welcome to the participants and guests and leading us in prayer. The topic “Investing in mental health: Role of educators” was then introduced by highlighting the theme- Increased investment in mental health and the objectives- focusing on contemporary mental health and destigmatising mental health in the education sector.
Sr Dr Vinora AC, Coordinator, St Agnes Centre for Post Graduate Studies and Research, officially welcomed the participants and introduced the speakers- Dr Santosh Prabhu, Assistant Professor, K S Hegde Medical Academy, Locum Consultant Psychiatrist, Queensland Health Australia and Dr Shailaja Shastri, Consultant Psychologist & Director of Training and Research Initiatives, Bengaluru. Sr Dr Venissa AC, The Principal, St Agnes College, delivered her message on the occasion and applauded the initiative. The principal’s address was followed by educative and enriching sessions by the guest speakers.
Dr Santosh Prabhu spoke on the theme – ‘Mental Health Now- A wide perspective’. Dr. Prabhu initiated the session by laying before us statistics pertaining to the incidence of mental illness and 20% of which is seen among youth between the ages of 18 to 25 years and reported death by suicide to be the common cause of death among 15 to 30 year olds, next to deaths caused by accidents. He stated that vulnerability among youth arises from the biological, social behaviour and relationships, financial pressure, increased responsibility, changing expectations and environment, which is seen through emotional, social and psychological arrest, loss of potential and/or increased use of substance.
He further enlightened the participants on how educational institutes can help by assisting them deal with issues related to cultural diversity, time constrains, heavy consequences, increasing competiveness and their expectations of self and others, while also supporting them in the transition from college to career. And then stated that “In the end we need to go about assisting them”.
Dr Shailaja Shastri spoke on the theme – ‘Destigmatising Mental Health in Education Sector: The way forward’ she began by sharing a letter on what a child expected of its teachers – ‘A happy Face’ and then went on to encourage us about bridging the gap between mental illness and wellness through psychological aid, that can be executed at 3 levels- the Curative, Preventive and Promotive level, highlighting the importance of the latter two. She urged teachers and institutes to promote and bring the language of emotions to the forefront.
The forum was then open to questions from the participants which was moderated by Assistant Professor Deepa Kothari, followed by Mr Rajath Nayak, student of M.Sc. Psychology announcing the prize winners of each category.
‘Self-care’ was the theme for the poetry writing contest and the winners are as follows:
First place – Judith Pereira, Second place – Brunda Nandakumar and Third place – Vaishnavi Shetty.
‘Depression, Family, suicide’ were the themes for film analysis and the winners are as follows:
First place – Jeanne Marie Cotta, Second place – Shravya M H and Third place – Saurav Das. The webinar end with Ms. Riya Maliekal, student of M.Sc. Psychology proposing the vote of thanks.
The webinar on “Investing in mental health: Role of educators” ended, leaving with the participants a sense of being enriched in knowledge and encouraged in professional spirit.
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