Health officials skip important event on World Mental Health Day

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Participating students express dismay

SRINAGAR: State Health authorities on Tuesday skipped an important event on World Mental Health Day, celebrated at Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar.
It shows how insensitive are the officials towards the mental health issues that have affected a large population in J&K.
The event held in GMC Srinagar auditorium was attended by nearly 200 students from different colleges who deliberated upon different perspectives on Mental Health as part of an inter-college debate competition.
However, the absence of top health officials left the participants disappointed while the organisers faced an embarrassing situation as the Chief Guest didn’t turn up.
The Department of Psychiatry, which was the organising department, had invited Principal Secretary Health Pawan Kotwal and Director Health Services, Kashmir, Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman as special invitees for the event besides Principal GMC, Srinagar, Dr Samia Rashid and Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Abid Rashid Shah.
While the DC Srinagar participated in the event and spoke at length about various dilemmas, the state Health officials skipped the event.
The participants of the daylong event were told that the top health officials will be present at the Valedictory function. Later, they were angry at the officers’ absence.
“It was highly disappointing that the officers gave a miss to such an important event,” said Asiya, a Women’s College student.
Another student, Junaid Ahmad, told Kashmir Reader that their absence shows their non-seriousness about the sensitive issue.
“It is also discouraging for people who are suffering due to mental illness,” he said.
Organisers refused to reply to Kashmir Reader’s queries over the absence of the Health officials. However, they said the principal of the College, Dr Samia Rashid, had to leave the venue early because of the death of close relatives.

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