Smriti Irani launches unique initiative to support mentally-challenged kids

Smriti Irani launches unique initiative to support mentally-challenged kids

New Delhi: In a major move aimed at putting a check on child abuse cases among mentally challenged children, the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) has launched a unique initiative to strengthen the children who are mentally weak or facing any such challenge in the country.

According Union Minister Smriti Irani, it has now become a must for the employees of the partner institutions working on issues related to the safety and rights of children to undergo training on sensitive topics like mental health and the WCD Ministry has entrusted the responsibility of training to Bengaluru-based National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS).

"The project was implemented by NIMHANS through a dialogue programme in June 2020 last year and so far, about 41,000 workers related to different institutions in 28 states/UTs have been trained on mental health," the minister said during an interaction with reporters.

Those who have been trained belong to institutions like child protection institutes, schools, state child rights commissions, child trainers, master trainers and judiciary personnel.

Taking it forward to the next level, now the ministry has planned to expand it to the panchayat level so that mentally challenged or children facing any kind of assault could be identified at the right time so that immediate help could be provided to all such children.

Explaining about the project, Shekhar P Seshadri, who is a psychiatrist and professor of the department of child and adolescent psychiatry in NIMHANS, said, "The training programme has been conducted in 28 states and a total of 92 public access programmes have been held. The institute has been able to interact with 62,000 people."

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