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Lancet’s Southeast Asia journal hails NIMHANS initiative for child mental health

Working in four verticals, care and protection, education, mental health and law and policy, the SAMVAD model is unique in that it employs transdisciplinary approaches to enable solutions to complex child and adolescent mental health problems through dialogue and capacitation of stakeholders from multiple disciplines.

Suicides during pandemic, Covid-19 suicides, The Lancet, Lancet study on suicides during pandemic, risk of suicides, Indian expressThe study is published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal. (File/Representational)

The Lancet Regional Health-Southeast Asia stated in a recent paper that the Support, Advocacy & Mental health interventions for children in Vulnerable circumstances And Distress (SAMVAD) model by Bengaluru’s National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) embodies how a tertiary mental healthcare facility could play a critical public health role, integrating child and adolescent mental health (CAMH) at grassroots and frontline levels of child work.

“It is an exemplar of a national model for child mental health, one that is replicable and adaptable in LMICs (low and middle income countries), where child mental health systems are often weak or fragmented, through the convergence of multiple stakeholders—building safety nets and social supports for vulnerable children, and when necessary, enabling access to specialised CAMH services. A one-of-a-kind initiative, it serves as a resource for the country, to increase access to and availability of child and adolescent mental health and protection support and services through the use of integrated approaches to child well-being,” the paper stated.

Born from the erstwhile Community Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service Project (a collaborative project of NIMHANS and the Karnataka’s Department of Women and Child Development, SAMVAD was approved by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD) in October 2019.

Working in four verticals, care and protection, education, mental health and law and policy, the SAMVAD model is unique in that it employs transdisciplinary approaches to enable solutions to complex child and adolescent mental health problems through dialogue and capacitation of stakeholders from multiple disciplines. SAMVAD undertakes research, training and capacity building and related services using methodologies that draw upon mono-disciplinary expertise, while also amalgamating the diverse viewpoints that characterise systemic and sectoral priorities of individual stakeholders interacting with children, the Lancet study said.

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“In order to penetrate rural India, MoWCD has visualised integration of child protection and mental health in the panchayati raj system as well. The SAMVAD model applies innovative teaching and learning methods of participatory, creative and skill-based pedagogies, to deliver training programmes focusing on the fundamentals of child mental health and protection work that is relevant to low-and middle income countries. In addition, SAMVAD is also engaging with the country’s judicial education system through deliberations and training. This is to strengthen weak child mental health systems and build safety nets and social supports for vulnerable children by improving quality of services to address CAMH issues in the country,” NIMHANS stated in a release.

“Assuming operations during the Covid pandemic, in the wake of heightened protection and CAMH concerns, SAMVAD leveraged technology, through creation of virtual knowledge networks and adaptation of in-person training workshops to online programs, enabling CAMH to permeate to remote districts of the country. In its relatively short tenure so far, it has reached across the country, to cover 1,16,243 (child care) service providers and duty-bearers, through capacity building initiatives and tele-mentoring services, and 26,32,875 stakeholders and citizens (namely parents, teachers, protection functionaries, health workers and other interested parties) through public discourse series, all of which are delivered in diverse Indian languages,” the Lancet paper read.

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First published on: 30-06-2022 at 04:25:16 pm
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