COMING OUT OF THE SHADOWS: HOW TO PROTECT MENTAL HEALTH OF TEENAGERS - The Daily Guardian
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COMING OUT OF THE SHADOWS: HOW TO PROTECT MENTAL HEALTH OF TEENAGERS

We should expand social-emotional learning programmes to help build resilience in the growing minds.Capacity building for mental health management is an immediate must to meet a looming calamity.

Suravi Sharma Kumar

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Emerging from waves of Covid-19 pandemic, more than ever, we must prioritise the mental health of the growing minds — the children and adolescents. It is our collective responsibility to keep the well-being of young ones at the forefront in the preparation for future Covid-19 waves and recovery plans. Generation Z is quietly perceiving the layers of changes in our lives since the virus encroached on our spaces in early 2020. Now, while the much-awaited return to school is exciting for many, there would be children feeling anxious or even frightened (UNICEF, Aug 2020) to go back to regular school.

This is a time of the year when adolescents would have been spending days at school and college in the company of hundreds of others, preparing for school rituals, sports events, carving out their future plans, but, throughout the last year and a half, they are instead trudging through a difficult new normal. The virus brought in many stressors to the psychological environment, the impact of which is yet to be played out in statistical data charts and graphs to analyse the repercussions on society and the upcoming generation. The pandemic control measures have contributed to new mental health issues or a worsening of existing ones in all but the impact ripples are far and wide or even beyond what we can think now in the teens and adolescent age group.

Some children or youth may be grieving the loss of a parent or a loved one, others may be living in fear of the disease or fear of losing a bread earner in the family or a job. Millions in our country have been dropped out of school despite their and parents’ best efforts to educate them due to their inability to get a device or internet connectivity.

Adolescents across all socio-economic groups have been struggling to adjust to a life without the structure that a traditional school day provides. Social isolation, lack of peer support and the need for personal/ real-world connection seems to be growing. The lost sense of school life’s demands and timely examinations to keep the learning minds occupied have been creating tension in the psychological environment of every child. Out of all, children of essential workers and homeless children are at increased risk for having to live within the confines of homes on their own without adult supervision and the other without the basic amenities of life now made worse under the pandemic.

Across socio-economic conditions, there are children trapped in dysfunctional families with physical, verbal and even sexual abuse, and there’re those living with stressed adults who have been resorting to substance abuse within the confines of homes. To add to the list, flaring up of cyber dependency has been alarmingly on the rise as screen time for children are now the highest in our recent history.

With increasing stress comes an increased risk for mental health symptoms or reemergence of dormant disease, at a time when there are fewer options for getting the support that can help lower stress levels. These are various factors identified as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and we know from research studies that when young people have these early experiences, they face an increased risk of lifelong morbidity or mortality.

When schools begin to reopen, we will need to implement more formal structures for mental health screening in the institutes and community settings. We must take precautionary measures against stigma and superstitions affecting caregiving, and there should be social laws in place to minimise the stigma around mental health conditions.

We all know law affects the operation of stigma in society and is the most efficient tool for blunting the effects of prejudice and stigma by protecting the diseased person against harmful conduct from miscreants/ ignorant lot in the society. The authorities must propagate strong messages in the society to create an inclusive environment for the people needing psychiatric help. India’s mental healthcare system needs strengthening. The authorities should now proactively implement the Mental Healthcare Act 2017. And this is a time when there is a dire need for integrated mental healthcare policy in the country covering all aspects of a sick mind.

We also need to enhance mental health awareness and stigma-busting programs in the local dialect or language through government and private sector initiatives. We should expand social-emotional learning programs to help build resilience in the growing minds. Capacity building for mental health management is an immediate must to meet a looming calamity, and suicide prevention programs should be revamped. There is a serious shortage of mental healthcare workers in India, the numbers of which according to WHO are: psychiatrists (0.3), nurses (0.12), psychologists (0.07) and social workers (0.07) for a population of 100,000.

Tele-psychiatry may be an immediate possible solution with such deficient conditions and it has proven to be a promising tool with children and adolescents, more so in emergencies.

Authorities must support schools and behavioural health care agencies in working together to ensure that when schools reopen, students will have the mental health services they need on campuses and in their communities to provide screenings, interventions, and referrals.

Our young people are the future of our country. We must remember that the period from age 10 to 25 remains a critical time of brain development and maturation. Both the experiences our young people face now and the support they receive from us in coping with and navigating these challenges will have profound impacts on their abilities to be successful adults, parents, and citizens for years to come.

The writer is a medical doctor (pathologist) and holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of London. The views expressed are personal.

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CHOCOLATES WORTH RS 17 LAKH STOLEN IN LUCKNOW, POLICE FILE CASE

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After Cadbury chocolate bars worth Rs 17 lakh were stolen from a godown in the Chinhat area near Lucknow, the Uttar Pradesh police have registered a First Information Report in connection with the theft.

The incident occurred on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday and the sweets were stolen from a house that was being used as a godown of a chocolate manufacturer under the limits of Chinhut police station.

“We have filed an FIR in the Chinhat police station. If anyone has any input, please come forward” Rajendra Singh Sidhu, the chocolate distributor said.

The Chinhut Police Station has registered the case under Section 380 of the Indian Penal Code. In the FIR, Sidhu said that he was using the house as a godown for storing the chocolates and received a call from his neighbour on Tuesday informing him that the door to the house was broken.

The distributor said that thieves had emptied the godown and taken away digital video recorder (DVR) and other appliances of the CCTV security cameras.

Police have begun an investigation and are scanning footage from other CCTV cameras installed in the area for clues.

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CALMING THE NERVES!

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There are days when you wake up to a sombre morning feeling disheartened and uncertain. It gets difficult to deal with incomprehensible situations and the difficulties of life, consequently leading to a bleak aura. The cynical approach and the proclivity to belittle our existence result in emotional instability. We often have to deal with situations where life takes a bizarre turn, which is the exact opposite of what we expected or something strong enough to affect us emotionally.

Is there any ideal way to deal with the minor stresses that one experiences on a daily basis? What is the way to resolve discontent?

PERSPECTIVE SHIFT

While it may not be ideal to reach out to medicine every time we experience bouts of low energy and mood, a perspective shift could certainly help. A small shift from a tangled thought process to a positive perspective can bring a considerable change into our lives.

In the words of Robert Browning, “Fail I alone, in words and deeds? Why, all men strive and who succeeds? “ We tend to measure our capabilities and achievements on the pretext of the conventional standards we have been fed since childhood, but why can’t it be different? The aforesaid lines of the poet are to teach us to look beyond the social directions and to understand that the path of success can be different for every individual.

EXERCISE

Dealing with anxiety often seems far-fetched, but there are solutions to it. A good workout is a perfect way to combat indolence and be productive. Physical activity produces endorphins and dopamine, also called happy hormones, and is a perfect antidote to stress.

MANIFESTATION

When Paulo Coelho said, “And, when you want something, the entire universe conspires to help you achieve it,” he was talking about manifestation. This might sound spurious, but a belief in the process and in oneself are magical.

SOCIAL MEDIA DETOX

Oscillating in the virtual world full of validation builds an alarming pressure to push us to fit into the trends. Be it peer pressure or be it FOMO, is paralysing our sense to reason things resulting in restlessness. The thirst of those in the race needs to be controlled.

MEDITATION

Meditation is an apt path for attaining peace of mind and serenity. Being purposeful, disciplined, and positive is synonymous with meditation.

When things get tough, we must tell ourselves, “this is just a bend, and the end. 

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5 UNHEARD PROFESSIONS THAT WILL MAKE YOU QUESTION YOUR CAREER PATH

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As kids, we’ve always been asked this question by someone “Beta bade hoke kya banoge?” Everyone knows what it means to be a nurse, doctor, engineer, police officer, etc., but there are plenty of other jobs you have never heard of. There are jobs that are not only offbeat but completely out of the box. From being a candy taster to professional sleeper, the professions are sure to pick a nerve in your brain and make you question your career path.

Here’s a list of 5 exotic jobs across the globe that you will not believe exist.

CANDY TASTER

The job of a candy taster is to taste different flavours of chocolates and candies and then get paid for it. Nowadays, it is one of the emerging ones. Interestingly, Candy Funhouse in Canada is looking for a Chief Candy Officer with a salary of up to Rs 60 lakh per year. “Imagine your best memories around candy, and having that every day at work,” Chief Executive Officer Jamil Hejazi said. It might be time for candy lovers to quit their jobs and divert their attention.

RENTAL BOYFRIEND

Just shell out some cash and you get a rental boyfriend. Yes, you heard it right. In Tokyo, if you have the money, finding a boyfriend is as easy. The concept of a rental boyfriend started when many strong, independent Japanese working ladies found it difficult to maintain a relationship because of work. The Rent-a-Boyfriend comes in three models- Fresh ($40/hour), Regular ($48/hour), and Special ($56/hour). These include activities like shopping, hugs, and hand-holding. Earlier in 2018, a 29-year-old named Kaushal Prakash from Mumbai launched Rent a Boy Friend (RABF) app. The app claimed to provide users with ‘friends’ on an hourly paid service. As per the founder, the app is meant to help people with mental health issues.

WORM PICKER

A worm picker is a person who gathers worms, and they usually work at night. These jobs fall under the broader career category of farm, ranch, and aquaculture animals. These worms are either sold directly to fishermen to use as bait or sold to universities and other institutions that use the worms for teaching and research purposes. In the US, the median salary for worm pickers ranges from $17,510 to $38,630, with a median salary of $23,750. Talking about qualifications, no as such qualifications are required to become a worm picker. All one needs are some skills and commitment to make a living from this job.

PROFESSIONAL SLEEPER

Do you often get a remark about being sleepy? Do you find it hard to get out of bed even after sleeping for hours? Then, it’s time to sleep and get paid for it. A professional sleeper is a person who is paid to sleep while scientists research sleep disorders. While the human body is asleep, doctors study the brain and other activities. If we talk about the salaries of professional sleepers, the top earners earn $107,000, and the average pay scale is $60,024. Earlier in 2016, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) offered someone the chance to stay in bed for 70 days for a salary of £11,000. 

WATER SLIDE TESTER

A water slide tester job is one of the most enviable jobs out there. The job of a water slide tester is to check if the water slides in hotels, water parks, and theme parks are both fun and safe. After testing the slides, the tester has to provide a report outlining any safety and performance issues. If one is interested in applying for this job, the ideal age is 18 or above. The basic skills one needs to enter this profession are- one should have good observation, a stable and calm mind, and most importantly, the ability to ride all types of rides. As a water slide tester, one can earn between $30,000 – $34,000 annually.

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Are you anxious ?

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Anxiety

There are days when you wake up to a sombre morning feeling disheartened, drenched in despair and uncertainty. It gets difficult to deal with incomprehensible situations and the difficulties of life, consequently leading to a bleak aura. The cynical approach and the proclivity to belittle our existence result in emotional instability. We often have to deal with situations where life takes a bizarre turn, which is the exact opposite of what we expected or something strong enough to break us emotionally.

Is there any ideal way to deal with that small pain of anxiety in your chest? What is the way to resolve discontent? It would have been so much easier if there were medications or a list of pharmacopeia to alleviate the entire emotional turmoil.

Growing up in an environment where mental health and emotional stability have always been trivialised and overlooked makes it difficult for us to communicate ourselves or even seek help.

Perhaps the pharmaceuticals cannot help us out, but a perspective shift could. A small shift from a tangled thought process to a positive perspective can bring a considerable change into our lives.

In the words of Robert Browning, “Fail I alone, in words and deeds? Why, all men strive and who succeeds? ” We tend to measure our capabilities and achievements on the pretext of the conventional standards we have been fed since childhood, but why can’t it be different? The aforesaid lines of the poet are to teach us to look beyond the social directions and make ourselves understand that the path of success can be different for every individual. There can be certain instances like a person working hard to get materialistic comforts while another person defies all those materialistic comforts in order to be happy. We should not allow societal regulations to limit our potential.

Dealing with anxiety often seems far-fetched, but there are solutions to it. Workout or exercise is a perfect way to combat indolence and be productive. Physical activity produces Endorphins and dopamine, also called happy hormones, and is a perfect antidote to stress.

Manifestation is yet another remedy played down. When Paulo Coelho said, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it,” he was talking about manifestation. This might sound spurious, but a belief in the process and a belief in oneself is magical.

Life has yet to go, things are yet to happen, this is just a bend, this isn’t the end.

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5 unheard professions that will make you question your career path

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Sleep

As kids, we’ve always been asked this question by someone “Beta bade hoke kya banoge?” Everyone knows what it means to be a nurse, doctor, engineer, police officer, etc. but there are plenty of other jobs you have never heard of. Here’s a list of 5 such exotic jobs across the globe that you will not believe that this profession exists.

Worm Picker

The worm picker is a worker who gathers worms and they usually work at night. These jobs fall under the broader career category of Farmworkers, Farm, Ranch, and Aquacultural Animals. This profession can be great outdoors “hunting” and collecting earthworms. These worms can be sold directly to fishermen to use as bait or you can sell them to Universities or other institutions that use the worms for teaching and research purposes. In the US range, the salaries of Worm Pickers start from $17,510 to $38,630, with a median salary of $23,750. If you talk about qualifications as such no qualifications are required. One thing you need is some skills and commitment if you’d like to make a living from this job.

Rental Boyfriend

Just shell out some cash and you get a rental boyfriend. Yes, you heard it right in Tokyo, if you have the money, finding a boyfriend is as easy. The rental boyfriend’s concept started when many strong independent Japanese working ladies found it difficult to maintain a relationship because of work. The Rent-a-Boyfriend comes in three models- Fresh ($40/hour), Regular ($48/hour), and Special ($56/hour). These charges do not include any physical activities but these include activities like shopping, a single hug, and hand-holding session. Earlier in 2018, a 29-year-old Kaushal Prakash from Mumbai launched Rent a Boy Friend (RABF), the app that claims to provide you with ‘friends’ on an hourly paid service. “In India, people have that typical ‘Log Kya Kahengey’ reaction, the same response girls get when they wear short clothes,” Prakash said. According to the founder, the app is meant to help people with mental health issues such as depression.

Candy Taster

My first reaction when I came across this job was… Wow! The job of a candy taster is to taste different flavors of chocolates and candies and then get paid for it. Nowadays it is one of the emerging careers like others. As a candy taster one needs to everything about chocolates. Meanwhile, an online retailer of confectionery treats from chocolate bars to licorice, Candy Funhouse in Canada is looking for a Chief Candy Officer with a salary of up to Rs 60 lakh per year. “Imagine your best memories around candy, and having that every day at work,” Chief Executive Officer Jamil Hejazi said. It might be time for candy lovers to quit their jobs and divert their attention.

Professional Sleeper

Do you often get a remark about being sleepy? Do you find it hard to come out of your bed even after sleeping for hours? Then it’s time to sleep and even after that you get paid for it. You get paid to… Sleep! Yes, you heard it right. A professional sleeper is a person who is paid to sleep while scientists research sleep disorders. While the human body is asleep doctors study the brain and other activities. If we talk about the salaries of professional sleepers the top earners earn $107,000 and the average pay scale is $60,024. Earlier in 2016, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) offered someone the chance to stay in bed for 70 days for a salary of £11,000 (RM67,000).

Water Slide Tester

All play and no work Water Slide Tester job is the most enviable job you’ll ever hold. The water Slide Tester’s job is to check or test if the water slides in hotels, water parks, and theme parks are both fun or safe. After testing the slides you will have to provide a report outlining any safety and performance issues. If one is interested to join this job the ideal age is 18 or above. The basic skills you will need to join this profession is- one should have good observation, a stable and calm mind and most importantly daring to ride all types of rides. Moreover, being a water slide tester you can earn between $30,000 – $34,000 annually. Imagine how fantastic it would be turning up to work every day.

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OVER 5 CRORE TIRANGA SELFIES CLOCKED AS PART OF HAR GHAR TIRANGA CAMPAIGN

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More than five crore Tiranga selfies have been uploaded on the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign website so far, the Ministry of Culture informed on Monday and termed it a “stupendous achievement”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given a call on 22 July 2022, to join the Har Ghar Tiranga’ movement by hoisting or displaying the national flag at homes.

“In a stupendous achievement, more than five crore ‘Tiranga’ selfies have been uploaded on the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ website,” the ministry of Culture said in a statement.

As India embarks on its 76th year of Independence, wrapping up the 75-week countdown to 15 August 2022, was the ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ initiative of the government driven by the nodal ministry for ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ the Ministry of Culture.

The commemoration of 75 years of independence started on March 12, 2021, as a 75-week countdown to 15 August 2022, and will continue till 15 August 2023.

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