Published: 29th May 2019
Mind screening session for students in T'Puram from this academic year
The initiative has come in the wake of reports showing a spike in mental disorders and NCDs like obesity, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and others among students
This academic year will come with a difference for higher secondary, under-graduation and post-graduation students, for they will have to undergo screening sessions for mental health and non-communicable diseases (NCD). A joint initiative of the Health Department, Directorate of Higher Secondary Education and Collegiate Education Department, the screening programme will be conducted with the help of the National Service Scheme (NSS).
The initiative has come in the wake of reports showing a spike in mental disorders and NCDs like obesity, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and others among school and college students. Changing lifestyles have its effect on youngsters as they become vulnerable to NCDs and mental disorders.
The screening programme will help identify symptoms in students at the earliest and provide them with effective treatment. Students will be screened at regular intervals, said an officer of the Health Department. According to Dr Bipin Gopal, state nodal officer for NCD control and revival of the existing School Health programme, the department has plans to roll out a special programme targeting school and college students, with a focus on seven aspects, including prevention and control of anaemia and stress management.
Meanwhile, NSS regional director G P Sajith Babu said it is yet to receive a proposal in this regard from the Health Department. "NSS is a central sector scheme and to collaborate in any long-term project, we will require prior approval of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Thus, the earlier the submission of the project proposal, the better," said Sajith.
The regional director also added that NSS is only happy to collaborate with the Health Department to contain the menace of NCDs, as youngsters fall prey to the same due to an unhealthy lifestyle. At the same time, state NSS officer K Sabukuttan said that NSS units in higher secondary and university levels have already decided to implement a project proposal prepared by the Kerala University of Health Sciences to contain lifestyle diseases.
At present, the state has 3,000 NSS units with over three lakh volunteers. Earlier this month, the Ministry of Health, in a communique to the states and Union Territories, had called for implementing measures to prevent NCDs and mental health disorders. According to them, interventions like this will pay high dividends in creating a healthy and empowered society.