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Annual Conference of The Indian Society of Psychiatric Nurses: 22nd Edition

The 22nd Annual Conference of the Indian Society of Psychiatric Nurses (ISPN) is a three-day occasion being held at the Institute of Nursing Education (INE), Directorate of Health Services, Government of Goa, in Bambolim (Goa) from 24th to 26th February 2023. The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Role of Nurses in Promoting Mental Health-Lifespan Approach. ’This conference aims to discuss current mental health issues, share scientific evidence, knowledge and experiences and best practices related to mental health promotion across the lifespan and the role of nurses and other healthcare professionals and also formulate the plan. The conference will host scientific scholars from all over the country(21 states)who are experts in their respective fields and can share their knowledge with the other delegates through scientific deliberations. Dr Redemma, the President of ISPN at the inaugural ceremony, mentioned that the conference will help nurses to keep up-to-date with the new advances and will help in the mutual sharing of knowledge and experiences she also advised them to keep abreast with people’s needs and problems.

The Sessions of the Conference are as follows;
1) Determinants of mental health and well-being across the lifespan
2) Preserving and improving mental health among women during the prenatal period
3) The mental health of social children- Teacher’s role
4) Prevention and Early intervention in youth mental health
5) Promoting positive mental and emotional health among clients with substance abuse across the lifespan span
6) Role of family and society in preserving mental health among children
7) Promoting healthy habits/use of gadgets among adolescents for positive mental health
8) Prevention of Domestic Violence: dealing with trauma related to domestic violence
9) Midlife crisis: preserving and improving mental health in middle years
9) Living well in older years: Interventions to prevent elder abuse in the community – GOI guidelines for the care of elderly
10) Panel discussion: Age-related interventions for better mental health across the lifespan

Indian Society of Psychiatric Nurses (ISPN) is a professional society established in the year 1991 under the able and efficient guidance of Dr Redemma (Former Dean of Behavioural Sciences, NIMHANS, and senior Professor and HOD, Dept of Nursing, NIMHANS, Bengaluru) and her team. The objectives are to achieve proficiency in mental health nursing practice utilizing strong evidence through scientific research in psychiatric nursing. ISPN has conducted 21 national and internal conferences on various aspects of mental health nursing. The society also publishes the Indian Journal of Psychiatric Nursing biannually which is a renowned nursing journal recognized in the UGC care List. The executive members of ISPN India include faculties from the Indian Nursing Council, St. Johns Nursing College of Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, NIMHANS, AIIMS, IHBAS, RINER, ESI College of Nursing, Baba Farid the University of Health Science.

The keynote inaugural address of the ISPN was given by the Chief Minister of Goa, Dr Pramod Sawant where in his speech he focussed on the rampant increase in the cases of online distress in the country. He also suggested that since the ratio of mental health professionals to the population is less, psychiatric nurses can take charge as “cyber caregivers”. Although, the increase in online distress(depression and internet addiction)  finds its roots in the onset of the pandemic (the work-from-home culture) as well as the increase in cyber crimes (fraudulent phishing attacks, stealing money from accounts), or in an incident where Zoom calls of students were hacked by hackers and that increased the stress of the students. In his speech, he also mentioned that as the Union Government, is promoting its “Health for all Initiative”, the demand for nurses will also increase.

Dr. Sawant also mentioned that nursing was a woman-dominated profession earlier and now more men are taking interest in the profession and are joining these elite forces who work round the clock and play an essential role in saving lives.

As Dr. Sawant mentioned, there is a need to ramp up the mental health professional force in the form of cyber caregivers. The one thing that can be done is to set up new nursing institutes in the country. Dr. Shivanand Bhandekar, the Dean of Goa Medical College, also plans to introduce a diploma course in Psychiatric nursing to address the problem of psychological disorders and a Nurse Practitioner course in critical care next year. The other thing that comes to mind is training in Psychological First-Aid. This kind of training involves five facets, viz., creating a sense of safety, calm, self and collective efficacy, connection and hope.

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