Fortis Hospital, Mohali on Friday successfully conducted the Fortis Pro-Social Peer Moderator Programme, as a part of the Fortis School Program by Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Fortis National Mental Health Program. This program is aimed at imparting life-skills among school children to weather plethora of social influences for a healthy and adaptive behavior in their formative years. Students from close to 15 Tricity schools participated in the inaugural session. Dr Hardeep Singh, Senior Consultant – Psychiatry, Fortis Mohali, shared the concept of the Pro-Social Peer Moderator Programme and also introduced Dr Samir Parikh,Director, Fortis National Mental Health Program, to the audience who conducted the workshop by joined in by Kamna Chhibber, Clinical Psychologist- Head Mental Health and Divya Jain, Sport and Counseling Psychologist- Head Psychological Services with the Fortis National Mental Health Program.
The salient feature of this series is that students become peer moderators and role models empowered with the knowledge on the topic shared by the experts, and continue to train other students of their school, creating a cascade of learning that ensures that the message reaches across to maximum students.
A Fortis Healthcare Study conducted amongst 1,350 school-going youth in Delhi/NCR aged 14-17 years to analyse the effect of media on attitudes, opinions, lifestyles of adolescents revealed that 74% youth in Delhi-NCR rely on Social Media for news, fashion, lifestyle and as many as 77% of them are influenced by television.
The Medial Literacy Module was conducted to address the burning issue of influence of Media Exposure on impressionable adolescent student minds. The New-age Social Media bombards individuals with thousands of media messages each day and the adolescent population is its single-largest consumer. The media has been implicated in increased aggression, unhealthy lifestyle/life choices and lowered self-esteem.
“The Media Literacy module is designed to enable students to filter information – to differentiate between more legitimate and reliable sources of information and entertainment, to learn specific skills of critical viewing and decision-making and to follow safe media practices,” says Dr Parikh.
Fortis’ Pro-Social Peer Moderator program involves students, along with a teacher moderator. In every module, one team of students is trained on one particular topics to equip them with necessary life-skills. The students further use these skills to disseminate their knowledge and coping strategies to their peers, who benefit from their learning. Other topics that are covered under the Programme include Aggression Management, Risk Behavior Management, Gender Sensitization, Study & Exam Skills etc. This program is being conducted at various cities- Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Jaipur, Bangalore, Ludhiana, Merut and Mohali.
Explaining the rationale behind the Pro-Social Peer Moderator program, Dr Samir Parikh said: “The Pro-Social Peer Program is based on social learning theories in psychology, and attempts to channelize the power of peer influence in the right direction. It aims to utilize influence of peers to impart adaptive life-skills for healthy all-round personality development. It has been proven to reduce and prevent the occurrence of problems like risk-taking behaviour, aggression & violence, substance abuse, delinquency etc. Through intensive and interactive workshops, the primary emphasis is on learning through observation, wherein the students are trained to become the role models for their peers and help other students in learning more adaptive forms of behavior.”
Life-skill programs have been identified as one of the key areas that can bring about a lasting change in the educational system and enhance personality of school-going children. These programs help foster positive growth & development, and prevent the occurrence of mental health-related and social problems.
“Children are our hope for a brighter tomorrow. Today’s children live in a lot more competitive environment today than ever before and so learning and developing Life-skills are becoming integral part of learning. We hope that with such skills, every child can truly make a difference and emerge as a winner in the race of life.” said Mr Ashish Bhatia, COO – North & East, Fortis Healthcare Ltd.
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