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Bikers set off to create mental health awareness in South West Garo Hills

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Ampati, Oct 12: District Mental Health Programme in association with District Legal Services Authority organized a bike rally to observe World Mental Health Day at Betasing Bazar on Monday, in the presence of A.V.D. Shira, Additional Deputy Commissioner, South West Garo Hills, Dr. L.S. Marak, DM&HO of South West Garo Hills, Dr. M. K. Sangma, Nodal Officer of District Mental Health Programme, South West Garo Hills and other Medical & Health Officials of the district.

Wearing “Mental Health Matters” imprinted on their tee-shirt, several bikers belonging to a group called ‘South West Garo Hills Am∙beng Youth Riders’ collaborated with the district’s medical staff and rallied on their bikes, spreading public awareness on mental health along the areas of Kalaichar and Zikzak.

To mark the occasion themed “Mental health in an unequal world”, District Health Society of South West Garo Hills also organized free health camp at Betasing Farmer’s Market.Shira, who have worked mainly as judicial in-charge during her time in the state’s civil services, expressed her concern about untreated mental health wherein most of the cases that she encountered are young people who suffered mostly from depression.

Encouraging the youth present at the gathering to utilise their time productively and also to take care of their mental health while working towards spreading public awareness, she said that youth have to be selective while choosing friends and open up to those friends if they face any emotional or mental burden in cases where they do not feel comfortable talking to their parents.

Giving an account of mental health patients who received timely medical intervention, who got cured and assimilated into society, who are now living life working as regular professionals, Dr. L. S. Marak in her keynote speech called on the public to take responsibilities within their family by giving due care, timely treatment and necessary support, if any of their family members start developing mental health problems, which will also reduce clinically manifested individuals roaming around in public places, making them vulnerable to unsafe environment.

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Dr. Marak also said that such day is observed to reduce stigmatization of mental health issues and support those who have such health issues who otherwise face discrimination.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. M.K. Sangma invited anyone to freely walk in for counselling or dial 24×7 helpline number 9362749485, should they require any kind of counselling.

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