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International School Mental Health Conf held at Woodstock School

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By Our Staff Reporter
MUSSOORIE, 16 Apr: Woodstock School Mussoorie hosted India’s first International School Mental Health Conference on the 15th of April. The theme for the conference was “Wellbeing in Schools-Making it a Priority”. 12 schools from India and 2 schools from overseas, one each from Australia and South America participated in this hybrid conference.

Keynote speakers, Dr Dheeraj Kattula, Addiction Management Specialist, and Dr Raja Paulraj, spoke about various mental health challenges among the youth including addictions, peer pressure, self-harm behaviours, stress and anxiety etc and discussed strategies to deal with these issues. The speakers through their talks, emphasized that mental health is an integral part of health and everybody has to take responsibility for their own mental health and wellbeing.

Binu Thomas, Head of the department of personal counselling at Woodstock School and the lead of the organizing committee says. “Because students spend so much of their time at school, it just make sense to have mental health awareness and education begins here. When we educate and empower our students to initiate dialogue on this topic, they are able to seek help when they need it.”

Regarding the idea of the conference, and how all this came about, Thomas says,
”Post COVID, we saw students return with a different set of struggles and the phenomenon seemed to be global. Hence the desire for institutional collaboration in building strategies to deal with student mental health, initiating conversations around areas of student struggles and emphasizing the importance of positive coping skills to deal with day to day struggles led to the idea of a conference.”

At the success of the conference, Drishti Bhasin, conference coordinator replied,
“It was thanks to the hard work and commitment of the entire team. The widespread and enthusiastic participation tells us about the importance of mental health at this level and the need to continue these conversations within our schools and beyond.”