SAMVAD Initiative | 16 Aug 2021

Why in News

Recently, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched the 2nd phase of the SAMVAD programme. The second phase was launched on the completion of one year of programme.

  • The programme is aimed at mental health outreach for children who are abandoned and orphaned, child survivors of trafficking, or in conflict with law.
  • Earlier, the government had announced a special “PM-CARES for Children” scheme for all those orphaned due to Covid-19.

Key Points

  • Stands for: Support, Advocacy & Mental health interventions for children in Vulnerable circumstances and Distress (SAMVAD).
  • Funded By: The initiative is funded by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • Implementing Body: It is led by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS).
    • The NIMHANS is the apex centre of mental health and neuroscience education. It operates autonomously under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
    • Recently, on the request of the Ministry of Home Affairs, NIMHANS, issued a set of guidelines on the management of mental health issues of the prisoners and prison staff.
  • Purpose:
    • It is a national initiative and integrated resource that works in child protection, mental health and psychosocial care of children in difficult circumstances.
    • It encompasses a specialized training curriculum on childhood trauma, interventions for children in conflict with the law, forensics in child and adolescent psychiatry and mental health.
    • Education and mental health support to children with special needs, protection and care in the context of adoption.
    • The initiative is providing coping mechanisms for children in distress by training close to 1 lakh stakeholders comprising Child Protection Functionaries, tele-counsellors, educators, law professionals among others.
  • Integration with Local Bodies: The initiative aims to foster care and integration of child protection and mental health in the Panchayati Raj systems in aspirational districts across the country to facilitate awareness generation and improve service delivery at the grassroot level.

Mental Health

  • About:
    • According to the WHO, mental health is ‘a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.’
    • Like Physical health, Mental health is also important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
  • Scenario in India:
    • A report published in The Lancet Psychiatry in February 2020 indicates that in 2017, there were 197.3 million people with mental disorders in India.
    • The top mental illnesses were depressive disorder (45.7 million) and anxiety disorder (44.9 million).
    • The contribution of mental disorders to the total disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) in India increased from 2.5% in 1990 to 4.7% in 2017.
  • Steps Taken by the Government:
    • National Mental Health Program (NMHP): To address the huge burden of mental disorders and shortage of qualified professionals in the field of mental health, the government has been implementing the National Mental Health Program (NMHP) since 1982.
      • The Program was re-strategize in 2003 to include two schemes, viz. Modernization of State Mental Hospitals and Up-gradation of Psychiatric Wings of Medical Colleges/General Hospitals.
    • Mental HealthCare Act 2017: It guarantees every affected person access to mental healthcare and treatment from services run or funded by the government.
  • Other Initiatives:
    • KIRAN: The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched a 24/7 toll-free helpline to provide support to people facing anxiety, stress, depression, suicidal thoughts and other mental health concerns.
    • Manodarpan Initiative: It is an initiative of the Ministry of Education under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. It is aimed to provide psychosocial support to students, family members and teachers for their mental health and well-being during the times of Covid-19.

Source: PIB