The World Mental Health Day observance meeting conducted by the Ernakulam Psychiatric Society on October 10, 2023, at IMA Hall in Kochi was a significant event. The meeting saw the participation of Ernakulam Psychiatric Society members, their families, the general public, volunteers from non-governmental organizations, and media representatives. Honourable Justice Sunil Thomas served as the chief guest.
Dr. T C Vishnu, the Secretary of Ernakulam Psychiatric Society, welcomed the attendees. Dr. Joseph Varghese, the President of the society, provided presidential remarks, addressing the legal challenges faced by individuals with mental illness. Honourable Justice Sunil Thomas inaugurated the event, lighting a lamp to signify the commencement and delivered an inaugural address highlighting the unmet needs in mental healthcare while also calling upon various experiences of violation of the rights of the mentally sick encountered during his professional career. Justice Sunil Thomas also called upon the government to take robust actions, including legislative initiatives, to ensure the active involvement of mental health experts in the rehabilitation of individuals with mental health challenges. Furthermore, he highlighted a critical shortage of mental health professionals, with less than a third of the required experts available.
Dr. Thomas John delivered a talk on the theme of World Mental Health Day 2023, which focused on "Mental health as a universal human right" throwing light on the Erawadi incident of 2001 and also highlighting the deficit in governmental budget allocation for mental healthcare. Dr. Haneesh M.M., President of IMA Cochin, delivered felicitations and expressed a willingness to collaborate with Ernakulam Psychiatric Society to combat mental health stigma and issues.
Dr. Anoop Vincent proposed the vote of thanks, and the meeting concluded with dinner. This event aimed to raise awareness about mental health and promote its importance as a fundamental human right.