Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences stresses on mental health reforms

The Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences (JIBS) of O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) conducted a workshop on “Achieving the Sustainable Developmental Goal-3: Mental Health & Subjective Well-being: Towards Building Quality of Life” at the Annual Meeting 2019 of the Academic Council of the United Nations System (ACUNS) on June 20, 2019 at Stellenbosch, South Africa.

The delegation included Dr. Sanjeev P. Sahni, Principal Director, JIBS and his team comprising of Dr. Mohita Junnarkar, Dr. Manjushree Palit, and Dr. Tithi Bhatnagar.  The panel focused on achieving two SDG targets. Firstly, promotion of well-being for all at all ages and secondly emphasized the need for quality training for mental health professionals.

Speaking about the lack of mental health facilities and need of awareness, Dr Sanjeev P. Sahni, Principal Director, JIBS said: “Mental health is regarded as one of the most neglected developmental issues in achieving internationally agreed development goals. Mental health workforce statistics in India reveal that mental health workforce per 1,00,000 populations is significantly less than the recommended minimum level. There is an urgent need to increase awareness and quality training among para-medical fraternity”. 

Dr. Mohita Junnarkar, Deputy Director, JIBS emphasized on the need to enhance and develop social and non-cognitive skills in children and youth such as self-control, self-awareness, empathy etc. Furthermore, she delved into the need to assess emotional well-being that entails self-control, self-awareness, empathy, realistic orientation, leadership qualities etc that are essential for flourishing and being successful in life.  She also discussed the emotional well-being rubric that is being developed and validated by JIBS.

Dr. Manjushree Palit, Additional Director at JIBS deliberated on the need for psychosocial intervention training, mentoring and supervision for mental health professionals. She remarked, “Globally there is a scarcity of professionals trained in evidence-based practices. Therefore, partnerships need to be formed between professionals from high, middle-and-low income countries to develop training manuals, workshops, and supervision for the mental health professionals.”

The concept of Subjective Well-Being, and strategies to optimize it were also discussed by the delegation. The need of positive organizational behaviour and workplace well-being was emphasised and discussed. Importance of concepts like hope and resilience to help individuals and societies to lead a good and rewarding life was also deliberated upon.

The workshop was well received by the audience at Stellenbosch, South Africa. The teacher training workshops conducted by JIBS were applauded and possibilities of collaboration on training opened up with the African delegates.