The 7th Congress of the Asian Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (ASCAPAP) & 12th Biennial Conference of the Indian Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (IACAM), was inaugurated by Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Honorable Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. He congratulated the orgnizing committee on organizing such a Congress on topical issues. He also mentioned about the Rashtriya Baal Swasthya Yojna initiated by the Govt. of India, which will take care of child health from 0-18 years.
The theme of the Congress is “Bridging the Gap in Child Mental health: Opportunities and Innovations”
The conference is being attended by 400 delegates from Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, P. R. China, Finland, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, USA and India.
In the presidential address delivered by Prof. Pratap Sharan, President, IACAM and Professor of Psychiatry at AIIMS, he emphasized the importance of recognizing symptoms and labeling of distress as being deviant or pathological depending on the norms of behavior accepted in a particular culture.
A symposium was conducted by Prof. Nilesh Shah, a well-known Child Psychiatrist from Mumbai on learning disabilities. For psychiatric disorders, only individuals having disability of more than 40% on IDEAS (Indian disability assessment scale) get the disability benefits, however, at present there are no guidelines or scales for quantifying the disability associated with learning disorders.
He emphasized the need to formulate policies at Govt. level in order to provide due benefits to the needy children suffering from learning disabilities.
The scientific sessions on the first day covered issues like Poor scholastic performance, learning disabilities, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Violence among youth and cultural issues related to assessment and management child mental health.
Experts representing World Association for Social Psychiatry discussed the issues related to the assessment and management of poor scholastic performance. Prof. Rakesh Chadda , All India Institute of Medical Sciences, emphasized the need for awareness among teachers, parents and educational administrators for early detection of these problems and instituting prompt multidisciplinary interventions.
Dr. Daniel Fung representing International Association for Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions(IACAPAP) highlighted the role of IACAPAP in improving child and adolescent mental health services in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and North America.
Rachel Z Ritvo an eminent child psychotherapist from Kensington, USA conducted a course on “Psychotherapy in children” based on American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry “Practice Parameter for Psychodynamic Psychotherapy”. Participants were introduced to the tasks of the three phases of therapy (opening, middle and termination), establishment of a therapeutic alliance with the child, issues of confidentiality, as well as alliance and work with the family.
Although many children in our country suffer from specific learning disorders but due to lack of trained professionals they are not able to receive proper assessment and timely management. To fill this void a certificate course was conducted as part of this course by the experts from PGIMER, Chandigarh Dr. Adarsh Kohli and Dr. Manju Mohanty on “Assessment and Management of Learning Disabilities”, which was attended by about 40 participants from India, SAARC countries and those from other countries.
Another certificate course which attracted lot of delegates was on the use of psychopharmacological agents in children and adolescents by Dr. PJ Santosh, who is a well-known researcher affiliated to the King’s College, London and Developed and leads the Centre for Interventional Paediatric Psychopharmacology. He discussed evidence base in managing psychoses, bipolar disorder,and challenging behaviour in developmental disorders and current guidelines for managing these conditions in childhood and adolescence. He also discussed web-based clinical and research medication-monitoring systems such as the Health Tracker TM platform.
Bennett L. Leventhal, Deputy Director, Nathan S. Kline Institute of Psychiatric Research, USA delivered a Plenary Lecture on Perpetrators and Victims of Violence among youth. The stories bullying, capture our attention in ways that shock our sensibilities, as do stories of child soldiers, youthful suicide bombers and adolescents who self-immolate. These acts of violence raise many questions and he suggested measures for early interventions and preventions of such acts.