Namchi, 10th October:The District Legal Services Authority & Taluk Legal Services Committee, South at Namchi jointly conducted an awareness programme on the occasion of “Mental Health Day” 10th of October, 2021 maintaining social distancing norms of Covid-19 protocol at District Hospital, Namchi, South Sikkim. And also conducted an awareness programme at Haat Bazar Namchi by setting up stalls of various Government Departments including Legal Aid Clinic.
The Chairman, District Legal Services Authority, Ex-Officio Chairperson, Taluk Legal Services Committee, South at Namchi, Learned Panel Advocate, Mr. Anjan Sharma, Health Department Chief Medical Officer Dr. D.C. Sharma, District Nodal Officer-cum-District Surveillance Dr. Ugen Sherpa, Senior Psychiatrist Dr. Bishnu Sharma, along with the staff of District Legal Services Authority and Taluk Legal Services Committee, South at Namchi, participated in the said programme.
The resource person Mr. Jiwan Kumar Kharka, Chairman, District Legal Services Authority, (South) informed the public about the Legal Rights under the Mental Health Care Act, 2017, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, Sikkim Anti Drugs Act (SADA) Act, 2016 and NALSA (Legal Services to the Victims of Drug Abuse and the Eradication of Drug Menace) 2015 and NALSA (Child Friendly Legal Services to Children and their Protection) Scheme, 2015. Further, the public were also told that if they have any further queries or problems they are free to contact the District Legal Services Authority or the Taluk Legal Services Committee, South District and they were also informed about the help line (Toll Free) number 18003453362 of DLSA/TLSC.
Thereafter, the resource person Ms. Jwala D. Thapa, Ex-Officio Chairperson, Taluk Legal Services Committee, South Sikkim at Namchi, informed the public in brief about the NALSA ( Legal Services to the Mentally Ill and Mentally Disable Person) Scheme, 2015. The gathering was also informed about the intervention scheme under National Legal Services Authority. She also spoke of how the DLSA and the District Hospital works together in providing medical facilities and mental health services to inmates in the Jail and Juvenile Observation Homes and in villages through Health Camps. They were also apprised about the Free Legal Aid Services provided by the SSLSA, DLSA and TLSC.
Thereafter, Ld. Panel Advocate Mr. Anjan Sharma explained to the people about the Amendment of Mental Health Act, Lok Adalat, Mediation and free legal services u/s 12 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. He also spoke in brief about the missuse of the social media which impact the mental health.
Thereafter, Dr. Ugen Sherpa, District Nodal Officer-cum-District Surveillance, spoke about the Ayushman Bharat Scheme which is a National Health Policy Scheme started by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India which has also made Mental Health a major focus. Under this programme, health workers including doctors, nurses and counsellors have been trained in mental health issues. They have also been given a smart phone with a dedicated SIM to facilitate the aid of mental health patients at the level of community health sub-centres. He also informed that as of now, 100% targets for appointment of trained personnel has been achieved in Sikkim and the focus has been solely on infrastructure development to fully implement the spirit of the Scheme by 2025.
Thereafter, Dr. Bishnu Sharma, Senior Phychiatrict, spoke about this year’s theme i.e. “Mental Health in an unequal world” which was inspired by the COVID-19 Pandemic and its effect on not only the physical health of the general populace but also the mental health. He pointed out that the uncertainties and the economic crises brought about by the Pandemic resulted in an increase in mental health cases, especially depression, anxiety and feelings of resignation from life. He also spoke of the effects on mental health of school going children due to the shut downs of schools and the mental pressure on parents, especially mothers and the general effect on family life. He also spoke of how the Indian Psychiatric Association is looking into the post COVID period which could be a period of a mental health pandemic.