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Building Inner Strength: Amrita University trains Telangana police officers to support mental health

February 29, 2024 - 3:09
Building Inner Strength: Amrita University trains Telangana police officers to support mental health

The closing ceremony for 39 Telangana State Special Police (TSSP) officers who successfully completed the “Sameekshanam – Be Calm, Be Compassionate” Training of Trainers program, took place at 1st Battalion, Telangana State Special Police (TSSP), Yousufguda. The program is part of an initiative by Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita University) to support mental well-being among police and military.

During the event, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Swati Lakra, IPS, TSSP, and Dr Bhavani R Rao, Dean of the School of Social & Behavioural Sciences, Amrita University, presented these committed officers with their course completion and Master Trainer certificates, signifying their readiness to conduct workshops within their battalions.

The initiative is an intervention designed to help address some of the pressing challenges for the TSSP, including depression, rigid gender constructs, and coping with the hostile and volatile nature of work leading to a high suicide rate.

The newly certified officers are now prepared to lead workshops in their respective battalions as part of the Sameekshanam program, aimed at fostering positive transformations among more than 15,000 special police personnel in Telangana.

The courses address issues of mental health, suicide prevention, masculinity, and gender equality among officers. Designed by Amrita’s Centre for Women’s Empowerment & Gender Equality (CWEGE), the ultimate purpose is to promote the wellbeing of both men and women officers and improve their overall morale.

Amrita’s teams will continue to visit all battalions where the Master Trainers deliver sessions in order to support and mentor them in the process.

In October 2023, Amrita Trainers in Telangana also conducted a 15-Day Train the Trainers (TTT) for 29 Master Trainers (MTs) at the Constabulary level. They went on to train 315 personnel in six battalions.

Discussions with ADGP Swati Lakra, shed light on the future phases of this innovative program, which will include interventions involving the officers’ families. In an insightful interactive session, the previous batch master trainers shared how this Amrita-supported program not only transformed their own lives but also had a positive impact on their participants.

Amrita began the program with India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in 2021, and reached 27,000 personnel in the Srinagar Sector, Kashmir by the end of 2022. In October 2023, the program started in the CRPF Southern Sector in Hyderabad, Telangana.

The intervention is structured on four pillars. The core is Mental Health to raise awareness and help build individual inner strength. The second addresses stereotype norms and opens reflective discussions on the rigid Masculinity mindset. The next two pillars supplement the learnings by linking them to the impact it has on Finance, Family Well-being and Gender Sensitisation.

The training content provides evidence-based solutions that largely are driven by individual and group activities. The exercises help participants identify stressors, understand and analyse incidents, and work towards resolution, to restore calm and normalcy.

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