Candlelight prayer, a quiz programme for college students and competitions for mentally disabled persons marked the observance of World Mental Health Day here on Saturday.

The World Health Organization’s theme for the year, ‘mental health in primary care: enhancing treatment and promoting mental health,’ was highlighted in speeches delivered by experts.

The objective of the theme is to recognize the need to integrate mental healthcare into mainstream healthcare to ensure universal access.

This assumes importance in the light of the recent prediction of WHO that in the next two decades depression was likely to be the number one illness affecting millions of people worldwide.

Members of Subitcham, a family fellowship for mentally retarded and mentally ill, joined the students of Sourashtra Girls Higher Secondary School in a candlelight prayer for an awareness of mental health.

The M. S. Chellamuthu Trust and Research Foundation conducted an inter-collegiate quiz competition on mental health for students of Master of Social Work in city colleges. Vaidyanathan, volunteer of the trust, was the quiz master.

Lady Doak College won the first prize, followed by the American College and Madurai Institute of Social Sciences.

K. M. Kanagaraj, District Disabled Rehabilitation Officer, spoke about the significance of World Mental Health Day.

R. Rajkumari, executive director of the trust, distributed prizes to the winners. The trust also organised an awareness programme on ‘women and mental health’ for students of Fatima College on Friday. Ganesh Kumar, psychiatrist, delivered a lecture on mental health and answered the queries of students. Pamphlets containing tips to maintain a positive frame of mind were distributed to the students.

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