HindustanTimes Sun,23 Nov 2014
Children need a healthy environment
Sameer Parikh, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, June 04, 2014
First Published: 13:04 IST(4/6/2014)
Last Updated: 13:08 IST(4/6/2014)

Our society is becoming ­increasingly disconnected and apathetic. We’re quick to form judgments ­without taking the time to know each other; we no longer know who our neighbours are, and we’re losing our sense of empathy and relatedness for those around us. And this is the world today’s children are growing up in. Day after day, incidents of ­aggression and risk-taking ­behaviour among school-aged children are ­coming to fore. Despite rules and ­policies ­regarding aggression and violence, bullying in schools remains rampant.

In this milieu of aggression, low tolerance to differences and intense competition, mental health problems and depression in children are on the rise. In fact, suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers and early adults.

What can we do?

Addressing these concerns requires a collaborative effort, wherein schools, parents, ­mental health professionals and the ­community can come together to create a healthier social ­environment for our children.

While we’ve changed the face of the world with new technology and altered social dynamics, we haven’t given our children the skills and resources to cope with these changes. There needs to be a paradigm shift in the field of education, and schools need to adopt a model that focuses on life-skills training and personality growth.

Academics cannot be the only focus of education – what is needed is a holistic approach that fosters character ­development, social relatedness, self-confidence and preparedness for the future. 

The author is director, mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Healthcare

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