'Imperative for people to strengthen lost societal connect'

A four-day training programme on mental health concluded at the University of Kashmir on Saturday.

The capacity-building programme for community-level health professionals from Budgam district was organised by the varsity’s Department of Social Work (DoSW) as part of a research project sponsored by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi.

Dean of Research at KU Prof Shakil A Romshoo was the chief guest at the valedictory function. Applauding the DoSW for organising the training programme for grassroots-level health professionals, Prof Romshoo said the university is taking new initiatives to take the outcome of its academic and project-based research to the society.

“We have constituted a research outreach committee to reach out to the society with the findings of research conducted in this university on different societal and environmental problems. The idea is to develop a strong society-university linkage and to help address the pressing societal problems, including mental health and drug abuse,” he said.

Prof Romshoo said alongside capacity building of health professionals, it is important for people to come together and strengthen the lost societal connect that they once cherished.

“Somehow there has been a loss of social spaces in Kashmir where regular interactions among people, visiting relatives frequently and sharing personal concerns and problems with friends would be a regular affair. I think that needs to be revived in this journey of addressing mental health concerns, alongside removing taboos and social stigma falsely attached to the mental health problems,” he said.

Prof Romshoo later released the ‘Social Work Bulletin’, the first volume of a peer-reviewed and refereed journal of the Department of Social Work.

Coordinator DoSW Dr Adil Bashir highlighted aims and objectives of the training programme, even as he talked at length about the Mental Healthcare Act of 2017 and its provisions. 

He said the DoSW will continue to organise such training programmes and workshops to help address major societal problems in line with the mandate of the department.

Dr Sumir Gul from KU’s Department of Library and Information Sciences also spoke on the occasion as a special guest. The valedictory function, among others, was attended by Deputy Director DIQA Showket Shafi, and faculty members of DoSW.