Kashmir Indepth

Keep children away hyperbolic new channels, says Govt in mental health advisory


Srinagar, April 15 (KINS): Amid COVID-19 scare, authorities have asked parents to keep children away from news related to coronavirus.

The Child Guidance and Well Being Center -a nodal Center for Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (IMHANS), Kashmir has issued an advisory which says stay connected in virtual world through phones and WhatsApp: “Don’t watch hyperbolic news channels, especially infront of your kids. In older children, this is the best time to inculcate habit of book/comic reading and storytelling,” it reads, a copy of which lies with Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).

“You can make groups on various social media platforms, of extended families and friends. Ask about well being of each other, but don’t remain stuck with corona talk. Use humour and reassurances liberally. Remind each other of previous difficult situations from which we emerged unscathed. If you are not able to force one, smile on video calls,” it reads.

It call for encouraging an increased sensitive and caring environment around the children as children need adults’ love and often more dedicated attention during difficult times.

“If possible, make opportunities for children to play and relax, Keep children close to their parents and family, if considered safe for the child, and avoid separating children and their caregivers as much as possible,” it says. “Keep regular routines and schedules as much as possible or help to create new ones in a new environment, including learning, playing and relaxing. If possible, maintain schoolwork, study or other routine activities that do not endanger children or go against health authorities.”

Children according to doctors are most susceptible for anxiety and stress. The curfews and strikes in Kashmir have created uncertainty in the children who are not able to maintain their academic calendar.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has pushed crores of people to the confinement of their houses across the world. Kashmir depicts a distinct rundown.  Various surveys have revealed that over 45 percent population in Kashmir has symptoms of mental illness.

As a large population struggling with various mental health issues due to turmoil, the number further went up post August 5 when valley remained shut for months. Now lockdown according to doctors could worsen the condition to people in Kashmir especially children who are susceptible to mental ailments.

The schools in Kashmir reopened on February 24, after a gap of seven months. Educational institutions were shut since August 5 when Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated state into two union territories-Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

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