The Gujarat government makes mental health a part of its School Health Programme, among the questions it is asking are on a child’s gender identity.“whether a girl acts like a boy and a boy acts like a girl”, and “whether a child gets consumed in thoughts of his/her gender most of the times”. The respondents can choose answers ranging from “not true” to “always true”.This initiative was taken for school going children between the ages of 4 and 16 years.
J P Gupta Commissioner of Health said the mental health programme were framed by experts, and “I am sure these must have been added with some valid reason.”
The module include dyslexia, autism, mental retardation, Down’s syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety, psychogenic pain, depression and enuresis (bedwetting). It also covers slow learning, cognitive delay, speech and language delay, attention deficit disorder, and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).This helps to train teachers and parents to identify these disorders early.If detection happens at an early stage,it not only help to concentrate on studies, but also it helps them to be a good citizen of the society.
Dr Hemang Shah, associate professor at department of psychiatry, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad, who is associated with the project, said, “Many a time a person feels he or she is trapped in the wrong body, and often goes in for sex change at a later stage in life. Thus, it is better if we identify such cases at an early age and offer them medical and psychiatric support. Other mental traits like depression and anxiety can also be related to such a gender identity disorder.”