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REACHING OUT—CONNECTING HEARTS

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Dr. Jitendra Nagpal

At the time of the crisis of health care facilities, Apeejay institutes are reaching out to families by offering all possible help and support. The staff has been extremely proactive in this mission. Along with facilitating health-care needs, Apeejay is actively giving utmost importance to the mental and emotional well-being. On May 23, Apeejay Education organised a webinar on Reaching Out- Connecting Hearts. Dr. Jitendra Nagpal, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, Moolchand Medcity; Program Director, Expressions India was the guest speaker and the penal discussion was moderated by Ms. Veena Goel, Principal Apeejay School Pitampura, Ms. Parul Tyagi, Principal Apeejay School Faridabad,  Ms.Ritu Mehta, Principal Apeejay Panchsheel Park.

NEED FOR SELF INTROSPECTION
Ms. Ritu Mehta asked Dr. Nagpal about his thoughts on the mental health condition in the pandemic and how humanity and society at large hold a collective responsibility to bring the change that is now emerging. “There is no doubt that it is a moment of deep introspection. We are not only facing a crisis, this is going to be a learning lesson for change in terms of governance, education, public health, our social  justice,” he said.
We need to give a platform to children and the youngsters. They are instinctive, innovative, not impulsive. We need to give them a chance to speak, a chance to understand them, he suggested.
Pandemic does not inform us much in advance. Our preparedness became questionable. We need to take responsibilities to protect, prepare and do partnerships, he said.

NEED TO TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH BEING
“Mental health is a component of a larger Health. Mental health should be seen as a people’s movement and not a movement of the health sector alone. Mental health as compliment to physical health but not as a competition to physical health”, Dr. Nagpal said. Answering Ms. Parul Tyagi’s query on the psychological challenges that are being faced today, Dr.Nagpal said, “Mind is not separable from human body so we need to take care of our mind. Prevention is better than cure.  Because of stigma and a denial mode, we took mental health for granted. When we can talk about fever, cough then why not about depression, anxiety, panic attacks and even psychotic behaviour.”
Children are facing issues of uncertainty, helplessness, nightmares, fear, sadness, worthlessness and anxiety. Remember Children can’t define the problem, but they can express it. We need to watch out for ways to convey the condition of mental health changes. It can be an underline depression, he said.

NEED FOR EMOTIONAL VENTILATION
Ruthless pandemic has been creating havoc in the lives of students. They are gripped with stress, uncertainty, fear, anxiety. How can we bring the healing touch to the students in their grief, asked Ms. Ritu Mehta. We want them to smile again, she said.
Dr. Nagpal said, “Students’ emotional ventilation is much needed. Emotional attachments and strings that schools have with them can be used. Their emotional outburst should be encouraged. Today education is about sentimental values and bonding to the entire body of the people attached to schooling.”
“Why not make the grieving process part of the curriculum. It is part and parcel of our living now.. Grieving is not just about losing. It is also about adaptation modification, feeling empowered to take care of self and the people who are with us now. It is giving us a new direction and vision about life,” he said.

NEED FOR SCHOOLING BEYOND SCHOOL WALLS
 School experience has been snatched from the students.  How we can build the social-skills, Ms. Veena Goel asked. “New age learning does not remain in the classroom. Schooling is beyond the walls of the school building. We need to transform and reform. Schools are a wonderful resource for this transformation,” Dr. Nagpal said. He added Hybrid learnings–in the school and beyond the school should continue as it’s a relationship building with the family and family should take the responsibility of completing the bridge with the school. While concluding the session, Dr. VS Garg, Education Advisor, Apeejay Education suggested, “We should start some certification and diploma courses in mental health that should be part of school education. It can be shorter courses—6-8 months.”

TAKEAWAYS BY DR. JITENDRA NAGPAL

·        Elderly people at home are a human resource for mental health solutions.

·        Children can be your good teacher. Cherish the new world of education—family and school partnership.

·        Need mock drills for emotional, mental, psycho-social disaster.

Asst Editor ( Newsroom ), who has an experience of a decade in core journalism. Credibility, courage, timelines and media ethics are some of her professional traits.You can reach her at: [email protected]

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