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Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. Mental illness affects 19% of the adult population, 6% of teenagers and 13% of children each year. In the present scenario, people are forced to face the new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children, lack of contact with other family members, friends and colleagues, it is important that we look after our mental as well as our physical health. With this thought in mind, ‘Rasatantra Association’(Department of Chemistry) Amrita School of Arts and Science, Amritapuri Campus in association with ‘Step 4 Skills’ has organized a mental health Symposium- “Let’s talk the illness of the Mind”, conducted on 19th October, 2020 at 2:30 pm on an online platform via Microsoft Teams.

The program started at 2:30 with a vibrant anchoring by Ansu and Gouthami of S9. Like every other program conducted in Amrita, this symposium also began with a word of prayer by Sreenidhi of S7. The importance of mental health and well being was put forth by Sreenath of S9. Meenakshi of S3 gave an impactful introduction of the Speaker. The speaker of the day was none other than Professor Jayan Namboodiri, the Director of Steps 4 Skills. Professor Namboodiri has been working as Consultant Psycho behaviour Therapist and Psychological Counsellor in hospitals and educational departments since 2005. With his 15 years of experience in this field he has mastery over many areas of human behaviour and his main focus includes: family counselling, stress and anger management, anxiety, depression, phobia, to name a few. He has received many awards like Subhash Chandra Bose Smaraka Excellent Award in psychotherapy and counselling, Dhanwanthary award and Gold medal for the development of education and research in Alternative Medicine and he also has actively participated and organized various workshops and seminars related to education and psychology.

Professor Jayan started his session with explaining the importance of mental well being. He also put forth the importance of having a balanced diet, proper sleep and drinking enough water in developing a good mental health. Sir portrayed the importance of having a positive outlook to life as it helps in reducing mental stress and anxiety. He also explained the importance of a proper mental health during this Covid crisis. One of the other important points that he discussed was the choice a child’s career. A child should follow his passions rather than following something he doesn’t like under the pressure and influence of his parents. Sir also pointed out the symptoms, causes and ways to prevent Stress, Anxiety, Fear, and Phobias. Sir answered a few questions raised by the audience during his speech and made sure that their doubts were clarified. He also talked about the different ways in which a student should approach education and how he or she should structure the learning patterns using 5Ws and 1H technique and the SQ3R techniques. Sir also mentioned that the time a chid spends with his family has a very unique influence on his growth. He also gave a brief explanation on Anger management and self awareness. Towards the end of the session sir pointed out a few techniques to control anger, including the Empty chair method and breathing techniques. Sir even made the audience perform 2 activities. The first one was a question answer session in which we were made to answer 10 questions. The questions may have looked easy but they had to be viewed in a different way to understand their depth. The second was a simple mind trick that put forth the simple psychology of human mind. There was an interactive session that enabled the audience to ask questions to the speaker. The session was concluded with the Vote of thanks by Surya of S5.

The symposium had a really powerful impact on the listeners as it had put forth the importance of mental wellbeing and mental health. The major focus being given to Anger Management and the ways to control our fears and anxiety made the audience listen to every word of the speaker. As these topics are of much importance in the present scenario, the whole program was very effective.

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