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V-C calls for research proposals on post-COVID mental health issues

Three-day international conference of SCARF inaugurated in city

August 26, 2022 01:09 am | Updated 01:10 am IST - CHENNAI

R. Padmavati, Director, Scarf, presenting a memento to  Sudha Seshayyan, Vice Chancellor of Dr. MGR Medical University at the inauguration of an international conference in Chennai on Thursday.

R. Padmavati, Director, Scarf, presenting a memento to Sudha Seshayyan, Vice Chancellor of Dr. MGR Medical University at the inauguration of an international conference in Chennai on Thursday. | Photo Credit: R. RAGU

Of late psychiatrists are seeing mental health issues cropping up in early teens, said Sudha Seshayyan, Vice-Chancellor of the Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University.

At the inauguration of the three-day international conference on Schizophrenia, iConS X, she cited statistics from the Schizophrenia Research Foundation (Scarf), which is organising the event.

“It is disturbing that teens have already started developing mental health problems. Mental health disturbances start somewhere around early teens, at 13 and 14 (years of age). As we look at society today, certain facts do hit us,” she said and pointed out that while the inhibition to seek psychiatric help had fallen several conditions, including changes in lifestyle and food habits, had pushed an individual to mental health disturbances.

The earlier generations grew up with four or five siblings, accepted that not all of them were intellectually superior, took parental reprimands and even spankings in their stride and led a balanced life, whereas today a child chooses to take the extreme step if scolded by a parent, she pointed out.

The conference could deliberate on the disabilities caused by diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. “We are still not aware of the neurological and psychological consequences of long COVID. She urged the delegates to come up with research proposals for the same.”

She suggested that the conference deliberate on the societal, environmental, lifestyle and food changes and “think of ways to help the community live better.”

Dr. Sudha congratulated Scarf on its decades of service and recalled the services of Sarada Menon in whose memory an oration has been instituted.

Oye Gureje, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Ibadan, delivered the fourth edition of the Dr. M. Sarada Menon oration. He spoke on “Contextual response to psychosis – developing an integrated care for a syndemic”.

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