Kohima Oct. 10 (EMN): Kohima on Wednesday celebrated World Mental Health Day at State Mental Health Institute Kohima (SMHIK), joining the rest of the world in creating awareness on mental health issues. The occasion was observed by national mental health programme (Directorate of Health and Family Welfare) in collaboration with Nagaland State Legal Service Authority (NSLSA) and department of Social Welfare.
Mezivolu T Therieh NJS, member secretary, (NSLSA) in her speech said that mental illness is one of the top stigmatised illnesses in the world and Nagaland is also not far from it as mental institutes are labelled as only for the “mentally deranged and insane people” and a “disgraceful” disease. She added that the situation is further aggravated when the illness is frequently linked to spiritual and religious beliefs.
She appreciated the staff of Mental Health Institute, Kohima for giving their best in taking care of the patients despite less support system and back-ups unlike other regions. She said that it was encouraging to see the state government recognising the plight of differently abled persons by notifying the Rights of the Persons With Disabilities Act, 2016 dated Sept. 27, 2018.
This has been a long-felt need of the people with disabilities and I believe we are in the right step to enforce all the rights they are entitled to and as assured to them by law, said Mezivolu.
“Under Section 12 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, persons who are disabled are entitled to legal services. Disabled person is defined in clause of Section 2 of the Persons With Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 and those in a psychiatric hospital or in a psychiatric nursing home within the meaning of clause (q) of section 2 of the Mental Health Act, 1987. It is in this background, that the scheme for Legal Service to the mentally ill and mentally disabled persons has been drawn up as “NALSA (Legal Services to the Mentally Ill and Mentally Disabled Persons) Scheme, 2015,” she added.
She further enlightened the gathering that the schemes include fresh guidelines to the legal services institutions, that is various Legal Services Authorities to follow while they render legal services to the mentally ill and persons with mental disabilities. The objective is to ensure that they are not stigmatised and are dealt with as individuals who need help to enforce all rights they are entitled to and as assured to them by law.
Mezivolu also urged all the stakeholders to come together once again and work for the mental health of the people by creating awareness that mental illness is curable and no stigma attached to such illness.
Dr Viketuolie, senior medical officer, SMHIK while speaking on the theme,” Young people and mental health in the changing world,” said that parents and adults need to understand the stress and anxiety of young people of the present generation as they are overloaded with school work, lack of job opportunities, followed by pressure from family and society at a young age.
He also said that social media addiction is the biggest threat for the youngsters in Nagaland, followed by substance abuse like drugs and alcohol. He added that the increase in substance abuse is taking a heavy toll on family stability and on one’s mental health.
Dr Vikeyie Losu, principal director, Health and Family Welfare, Nagaland, and K. Atoli Sema, Jt. Director and Nodal Officer for disabilities, dept of Social Welfare also spoke at the event, which was chaired by Tongpang I Jamir, Project Coordinator, NSLA.