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SAMVAD Initiative

SAMVAD Initiative

Why in news?

  • Recently, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched the 2nd phase of the SAMVAD programme. The second phase was launched on the completion of one year of programme.
  • The programme is aimed at mental health outreach for children who are abandoned and orphaned, child survivors of trafficking, or in conflict with law.
  • Earlier, the government had announced a special “PM-CARES for Children” scheme for all those orphaned due to Covid-19.

What is SAMVAD?

  • SAMVAD Stands for: Children in Vulnerable Situations and Distress: Support, Advocacy, and Mental Health Interventions (SAMVAD).
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development is funding this initiative.                          SAMVAD Initiative
  • The National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences is in charge of the implementation body (NIMHANS).
  • The NIMHANS is the world’s leading centre for mental health and neuroscience research and teaching. It is run independently by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • NIMHANS has produced a set of guidelines on the management of mental health concerns among prisoners and prison employees, at the request of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Key Features of SAMVAD 2.0 Programme

  • It will engage for the first time in independent India with functionaries in Panchayats thereby ushering in a silent revolution in addressing psychosocial challenges amongst vulnerable children.
  • It is slated to begin work with Panchayati Raj systems to:
  • Integrate child protection and mental health in aspirational districts across the country; and
  • Facilitate awareness generation and improve service delivery at the grassroot level
  • Its new initiatives with regards to mental health and psychosocial care of children in difficult circumstances have encompassed:
  • Specialized training curriculum on childhood trauma;
  • Interventions for children in conflict with the law;
  • Forensics in child and adolescent psychiatry and mental health; and                                            SAMVAD Initiative
  • Education and mental health support to children with special needs, protection and care

Objectives of SAMVAD Programme

  • To develop standardized child-centric modules and resources for the capacity building of primary, secondary and tertiary level psychological and mental healthcare service providers.
  • To strengthen knowledge and skills in child and adolescent protection and psychological care in various cadres of child care service providers in the country.
  • To enhance child and adolescent protection and psychological care implemented by government and NGOs by providing technical support.
  • To undertake studies, audits, research and advocacy on issue pertaining to child and adolescent protection and related issues of mental health and psychological care.
  • To utilize the experiences of capacity building, technical programmatic report and research in informing child and adolescent laws and policies in the country.

Scenario in India

  • A report published in The Lancet Psychiatry in February 2020 indicates that in 2017, there were 197.3 million people with mental disorders in India.
  • The top mental illnesses were depressive disorder (45.7 million) and anxiety disorder (44.9 million).
  • The contribution of mental disorders to the total disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) in India increased from 2.5% in 1990 to 4.7% in 2017.

Steps Taken by the Government

  • National Mental Health Program (NMHP): To address the huge burden of mental disorders and shortage of qualified professionals in the field of mental health, the government has been implementing the National Mental Health Program (NMHP) since 1982.
  • The Program was re-strategize in 2003 to include two schemes, viz. Modernization of State Mental Hospitals and Up-gradation of Psychiatric Wings of Medical Colleges/General Hospitals.
  • Mental HealthCare Act 2017: It guarantees every affected person access to mental healthcare and treatment from services run or funded by the government.
  • It has significantly reduced the scope for the use of Section 309 IPC and made the attempt to commit suicide punishable only as an exception.
  • The Mental Health Care Act (MHCA) 2017 came into force in 2018 to meet the requirements of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which India ratified in 2007.

Other Initiatives

  • KIRAN: The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched a 24/7 toll-free helpline to provide support to people facing anxiety, stress, depression, suicidal thoughts and other mental health concerns.                                                              SAMVAD Initiative
  • Manodarpan Initiative: It is an initiative of the Ministry of Education under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. It is aimed to provide psychosocial support to students, family members and teachers for their mental health and well-being during the times of Covid-19.


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