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December 4, 2018

Higher prevalence of behavioural problems reported among children


December 4, 2018

Islamabad: An estimated 10 to 20 per cent of young people may have mental or emotional disorder warranting treatment at any one time worldwide and 32 per cent of Pakistan’s population is under the age of 14 and many psychiatric disorders have an onset during childhood and adolescence, and so impair education and vocational choices while higher prevalence of emotional and behavioural problems reported from Pakistan.

Head of Psychiatry Department at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences Professor Rizwan Taj said this while speaking to the audience at a pre-symposium workshop on School Mental Health held here at PIMS auditorium. Apart from medical professionals, the workshop was attended by teachers and school counsellors of various schools of Islamabad.

Dr. Taj said the objective of the training was prevention of illness as well as the promotion of health and wellbeing of the students through early detection and care of students with health problems, development of healthy attitudes and behaviour along with ensuring a healthy environment for children at school.

Talking to the audience, he said mental health initiatives in schools help teachers to feel less stressed and be more satisfied with their role and save costs. Also schools can play an important role in promoting positive mental health, reducing stigma, raising awareness among teachers, parents and children about mental health issues and identifying and supporting youth experiencing mental health difficulties. Early interventions which promote well-being include social and emotional learning programmes, school based bullying and violence prevention programmes, he said.

He added there is a strong need to use cognitive and social competence approaches that aim to develop life skills, emotional literacy, resilience, problem solving skills and peer support. A whole school approach is needed to administer involving teachers, children, parents and community. Also peer tutoring and cross age tutoring for children with problems should be applied, he said.

He said that effective implementation needs staff training, strong leadership, good management and organisation and a sustained and long term implementation rather than brief. Talking to ‘The News’, Dr. Taj said a detailed session on common childhood and adolescence mental health disorders was also held while drug addiction was also discussed as this is becoming a big issue among adolescents and is affecting their mental health badly.

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