Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Women and Child Development
28-March-2018 18:01 IST
Ministry of Women and Child Development holds First National Conclave on Psychological Trauma, Child Protection, and Mental Illnesses

With an aim to provide a comprehensive synthesis of research, service provision, and clinical practice in addressing psychological trauma and subsequent mental illnesses in Indian children and adolescents, First ever National conclave was held on 27-28th March,2018 by the Ministry of Women & Child Development, in collaboration with the Dept. of Psychiatry, AIIMS in           J L N Auditorium, AIIMS, New Delhi. The Conclave was inaugurated by Hon’ble Minister of State for Women and Child Development, Dr. Virendra Kumar. In his inaugural address, the Minister said that psychological trauma is a broad term that may include many kinds of experiences and circumstances such as human trafficking, sexual harassment, war, natural disaster, abduction, domestic violence etc. This is an important issue which needs attention and collective efforts are required to address this issue since the traumas experienced during childhood have lifelong impact.

The conclave provided a common platform for all stakeholders (Academicians, Clinicians, Government and NGOs) working in this area in the direction of robust evidence based research, better service provision, and capacity building of professionals.  The workshops and seminars were held on the following themes:

  1. Effects of psychological trauma on brain development
  2. Physical, Emotional, & Sexual Abuse 
  3. Psychological Trauma in Trafickked Children
  4. Children witnessing Domestic Violance
  5. Psychological Trauma in Childhood Pregnancies
  6. Disasters/wars/civil conflicts & Psychological trauma in Children
  7. Psychological issues in Street Children & children in refugee camps
  8. Juveniles & Psychological Trauma
  9. Childhood begging, Child labour & Risk of psychological Trauma
  10. Child labour & Psychological trauma
  11. Child Prostitution & Trauma
  12. Trauma & Substance Abuse
  13. Risk of psychological trauma in adoption and children with disability
  14.  Psychological trauma & Specific mental illnesses
  15. Life threatening diseases & trauma
  16. Psychological Trauma in childhood & Risk of Mental illness in Adulthood
  17. Trauma focused interventions
  18. Psychlogical trauma assessments
  19. Hospital/clinic based care services
  20. Institutionalised care & welfare services
  21. Complicated Trauma Care practices
  22. Training and supervision
  23. Go-NGO collaboration in service provision & rehabilitation
  24. Community based care provisions
  25. Home based care provisions
  26. Sexual Abuse & AIDS/STIs
  27. Psychological trauma in schools: bullying, physical abuse, etc
  28. Psychological trauma & Cyber bullying
  29. Psychological trauma in case of sudden death & suicide incidents
  30. Care of Caregivers
  31. Prevetive measures
  32. Comminuty based mental health promotions for prevention of childhood adversities
  33. Issues & Challenges in administration, operation, management, & funding
  34. Interface of legal and mental health issues in Abuse & Violence
  35. New innovations in child protection service provisions

The conclave provided an overview of research and development perspectives in the subject matter to the audience purely in Indian context. It also highlighted the gaps in the subject matter, hence provided a direction of research and clinical intervention development for the future researchers and clinicians.

Background: Psychological traumatic life event is a broad term that can encompass a multitude of experiences and situations, such as experiencing trafficking, physical and sexual abuse/assaults, war, torture, natural disasters, kidnapping, sudden death in family, sudden loss of limb, life threatening chronic illness, as well as witnessing murder, domestic violence, accidents, and dead bodies.

The cross cultural research in child and adolescent mental health in last 3 decades has reached at a consensus regarding the direct relationship of psychosocial adversities in childhood and resulting psychological trauma, affecting almost all aspects of life and development of the children and adolescents. However, childhood adversities and resulting trauma is overlooked, underestimated and underreported due to various reasons in the developing countries, although media and official data indicates the higher prevalence of such adversities in terms of exposure of children to natural and man-made disasters, domestic violence, emotional abuse, trafficking, domestic violence, vehicular accidents, chronic life threatening illness of self or significant family members or sudden death of a parent or sibling.

Although there is an increasing global agreement on association of childhood trauma with a wide range of mental illnesses including first episode psychosis-a severe mental illness, the research in India is limited to very few descriptive and review studies. The service provision to children witnessing such traumatic life events in institutional care homes suffers from lack of appropriate trained manpower/professionals in handling trauma and trauma focused service provision. There are many gaps in training, research and service provision in India. AIIMS as an apex institution in training of clinical skills would be committed to the capacity building of professionals working with such children. This conclave provided a preliminary step in that regard.