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Get Your “ACT” Together – An attempt to equip students to help their peers and themselves

Kolkata, 28th June: The Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences at Fortis Hospital Anandapur, organized a one-act play competition Get Your ‘ACT’ Together” at Kala Kunj auditorium. Across the Fortis network, more than 250 schools and 4000+ children attended the summer internship organized by Fortis School Mental Health Programme, under the leadership of Dr. Samir Parikh, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences at Fortis Healthcare. The one-act play competition, held in the city, is a finale event to mark the conclusion of the programme in Kolkata.

As Dr. Sanjay Garg, Consultant of the Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences at Fortis Hospital Anandapur rightly points out, “The one-act play was used as a medium of expression by the children to create awareness about mental health. We feel that if we can sensitize the youth early in life, we can take small steps in achieving a goal of being mentally healthy for the rest of the life. This will not only help them achieve a stable identity but also develop as responsible future citizens, who can take this initiative  forward to influence significant changes in the stigmatized and often neglected landscape of mental health.”

Explaining the idea behind Fortis School Mental Health Initiative, Dr. Parikh said, “This initiative that Fortis Hospital has taken up across the country focuses on positive mental health, de-stigmatization of mental health, building resilience and increasing help- seeking behavior of students to enhance their well-being.

Out of the 500+ students, who were a part of the summer internship programme at the Anandapur hospital this year, around 125 students, from Class XI & XII, have been shortlisted based on the skit presented by them on the last day of their internship. The students from each school were divided into batches, each of which put up an original one-act play, highlighting the challenges a person suffering from mental illness, has to face in a society that treats it as a passing phase. The best batch from each school was shortlisted based on their performance and competed with the shortlisted teams from other schools at the finale event.

The 5-week summer internship programme, which started from 13th May 2019, saw the students receiving exposure to a multitude of topics ranging from clinical disorders to psychological interviewing. Sessions on the applied areas of psychology were taken to encourage students to learn about the scope of various upcoming super specialties in the field. Students also participated in experiential art-based activities to enhance their own knowledge and awareness.

The participating students are from leading schools of the city like La Martiniere for Girls, La Martiniere for Boys, Modern High School for Girls, Loreto House, Sri Sri Academy, National High School, DPS Ruby Park, Ashok Hall Group of Schools, Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, Pratt Memorial, Sri Shikshayatan, Gokhale Memorial, Bhavans Gangabux Kanoria Vidyamandir and Silver Point School. The principals of these schools were also invited to be a part of the event.

The Fortis School Mental Health Programme has recently launched the mental health curriculum– a training module for teachers to equip them to have mental health conversations with children. 

‘The Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences at Fortis Healthcare is an integrated mental healthcare system comprising a multidisciplinary team of experts including psychiatrists, clinical and counselling psychologists, art and movement-based therapists, psycho-oncologists, remedial experts, psychodynamic psychotherapists, organizational behavior psychologists and sport psychologists. Led by Dr. Samir Parikh, Director, Fortis National Mental Health Program, it is the one of the few multi-city multi-centric comprehensive mental health programme in the world, with a presence in 24 centers across Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata, Mohali, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jaipur and Udaipur. With a key focus on preventive and positive mental health, the department runs the Fortis School Mental Health Program, which is completely free of cost to schools. The Fortis Stress Helpline (8376804102) is a 24 X 7 helpline run by a multilingual team of mental health professionals in order to support individuals experiencing emotional distress.’ Publicity : Carpe Diem Communique.

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