NEW DELHI: In a bid to prioritise mental health awareness among adolescents, the AAP government is working towards introducing sessions with psychologists in its government schools.
“It is very important to look into the mental health factor in schools. It is one area which is largely underserved. So we have decided to run a pilot scheme with the psychologists to manage the challenges of mental health. However, it has not yet materialised and is still in the planning stages,” said a senior government official.
According to the official, the pilot scheme will be introduced in around five schools where either one senior psychiatrist will be employed to visit the schools on rotational basis or those with master’s or bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology will be hired after being trained by senior psychiatrists regarding the field of adolescent mental health.
“The challenge is that we don’t have as many psychiatrists…they are limited, busy and appointing them comes at a very high cost. Getting hold of even clinical psychologists can be a task. Many NGOs and mental health organisations are willing to help. Private schools already have such facilities and we realised government schools need them as well,” the official noted.
Apart from this, a proposal is also underway for setting up clinics in schools. Around 265 schools have already been identified where these clinics can be launched. The design is set to be similar to that of mohalla clinics.
“The plan is to set them up as Mohalla Clinics to add to the number of such primary healthcare centres. By February, we target to open more 500 clinics and 265 such school clinics,” the official stated.
Dr Rajesh Sagar, Professor, Psychiatrist from AIIMS Delhi said that adolescents are prone to suffer from different mental issues including anxiety, fear of rejection, learning problems and behavioural problems such as excessive aggression and violence.
“Often children fail to express emotions which later manifest in ugly ways. Teachers cannot be councillors, and thus having psychologists is very important,” said Dr Sagar.