Mind Matters


By Paonam Thoibi

“A healthy relationship between the public and the police is necessary to build back the trust of the law enforcers which the mass have denounced a long time back due many evidenced incidents of torture and ill-treatment.”

1. Dear Madam, I am a regular reader of your column and I never miss it. I should say, this column should continue for the better. Nowadays, there are so many agitations going on. The most recent one is the agitation for implementation of ILP. Just yesterday, I saw on local channel news the young students being treated like hardcore criminals. They were brutally tortured by the police commandoes. I think this was inside the DM college campus. It was not lathi charge but it was blatant torture. I am worried about the young boys and girls if they will have any problem with their mental orientation. A school teacher, Imphal (W).

Ans: First of all, thank you for your words. Also, I thank all the readers who are sending in their queries with many common concerns which will also develop opinion of other readers as well as this opportunity given to me to share my clinical knowledge on the mental health and well-being derived from experiences.

For the statement which you just addressed, I share the same thought on how brutally the students are being treated by our police force in the name of curbing an agitated mob. We have always known how notorious our personnel are with regards to handling mob agitations and violence. This is the same with all kinds of protests that we have seen or heard- here and elsewhere. This speaks a lot about how ill-equipped our police forces are when it comes to a humane relation with the public and the mass and also how mob behavior works. From a clinician’s perspective, I would like to say that mob behavior is totally a difficult and a tricky situation which needs proper methods and tactics to be controlled. It is mostly composed of ‘massive numbers’ of people overridden by emotions and at times people who are not very clear of the purpose of the protest and agitation itself. When people are in a group, they take more risks. Sometimes, we have people in the mob that just joins the group of people out of sheer curiosity and thrill. This is mostly true for agitations mainly spearheaded by teenage student leaders or youths who get charged because of the current state of affairs and injustice happening to them and the people around them.

Your worry if any of these students who were ill-treated in the protests and agitations can develop mental conditions is a fairly positive one and health professionals are expected to do their prompt intervention when giving them first aids. Apart from physical injuries, some of them can develop Acute Stress symptoms, which can develop into a condition called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder if not assessed and managed properly. Some can have lasting fears and may even go into depression.

Lastly, the authority should be vigilant to the police atrocities and measures should be promptly taken up to manage this issue in a more constructive manner. A healthy relationship between the public and the police is necessary to build back the trust of the law enforcers which the mass have denounced a long time back due many evidenced incidents of torture and ill-treatment. One way can be by engaging and consulting the social scientists and the related authority and framing guidelines and necessary laws to ensure human rights. Also, it will help to educate and spread awareness to the students on human rights and its violations, state issues and politics so that they may best able to understand and engage in a constructive manner.

2. Madam, could you please throw light regarding peer pressure. Now we are middle age parents. We know having gone through adolescences. But we had a different environment as our times were different, and we hardly make demands from our parents. Today, most parents like us have to meet our children’s demand, and we know the demands are mostly made, out of peer pressure. It is not always possible to meet their demands. Imo, Langol Game Village.

Ans: Dear Imo, peer pressure is the hallmark of adolescent experience. It is a kind of influence and pressure that encourages people to change their attitude and behavior to conform or belong to the group norms. It can be on style, appearance, ideology, risk taking behavior-like drug use and other behaviors. Peer pressure can also be a positive influence for many children and can lead to altruism and volunteering. You are right in saying about the changing trend which builds a huge gap between generations. It would be a little exaggerated statement to say this generation makes more demands from their parents. Every generation had their share of worry and concerns trying to understand and cater to the needs of adolescents.

When you say, parents these days have to meet our children’s demand, either made from own choice or peer pressure, we also have to accept the fact that parents these days are not able to give much time to our children. This is partly due to more parents, these days, who both are working and partly because of our children not spending time with us since they are most of the time outside home – attending coaching, tuitions; which is again most of the time influenced by the parents who want their children to score certain marks or go into certain professions and career.

Our children, these days are caught between all sort of pressures from many angles which often leads them to opt for the peer pressure which is more fun and acceptable amongst themselves.

Meeting our children’s demand is not the best way of parenting. Most of the times, the children’s demand can be quality time from their parents. Therefore, giving them our time, to understand their company, likes and dislikes, interests and ambition will prove more beneficial for our children. Many a times, parents are to keep themselves updated with the latest knowledge of the children’s activities, games and hobbies and try to become a good influence and role models to their kids.

Readers are requested to send in their queries at[email protected]


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