1. Model Intervention in Neurodevelopmental Disorders (MIND)
Autism and ADHD are two of the Neuro Developmental Disorders (NDD) that seriously impair children’s educational outcomes and life prospects. These disorders are thought to affect at least 10% of school going children. These children and their families suffer enormously due to impairments in cognitive, social, emotional and interpersonal functioning. Early detection would help to access appropriate interventions and thus is likely to reduce impairments
To study the prevalence of neuro developmental disorders in primary school children in a defined geographical area
To study the trajectory of NDD in a naturalistic cohort in a geographical area
To compare how parents and teachers consider specific behaviours as abnormal in the context of screening for NDD
2500 Lower primary school children completed the screening assessments by parents and teachers
2000 pre-primary school children completed the key behavioural risk assessments
2. Eye tracking for diagnosing severe mental disorders :
This is field validation study of a cutting edge technology where we use very fast infrared cameras to capture a record of the movements that our eyes make while watching a computer screen on which are displayed a variety of images. Eye movements occur several times a second and are largely controlled unconsciously. We then use our software to analyse the eye movement recordings and generate a profile of the patterns we observe. These patterns are then compared with the profiles of large numbers of patients and controls on a reference database to generate a likely diagnosis. If successful however it will help with diagnosis and inform choice of treatment. This will hopefully result even using currently available treatment options in better treatment, improved quality of life and as indicated above substantial savings in both direct and indirect costs related to mental illness. At the same time it will give us invaluable new information about the validity of current classification systems in Psychiatry, and comprehensive profiling of eye movement patterns in the different major psychiatric disorders. Finally this new information arising from a hitherto neglected area of psychiatric research may in due course help to unravel the aetiology and pathogenesis of these human disorders and perhaps one day finding new methods for prevention and/or treatment.
Project was inaugurated by Hon’ble Kerala Legislative assembly Speaker Mr. Sree Rama Krishnan on 01/12/2018. Wadakkanacheri MLA Mr Anil Akkara, IMA state president Dr Sugathan, Kerala (TC) Medical Council vice chairman Dr VG Pradeep Kumar were among the dignitaries who blessed the occasion with their presence.
Prof David St Clair, Aberdeen University. Prof. David Sinclair, Professor of psychiatry, Aberdeen University, UK gave the key note speech on the Project Launch Seminar on 02 12 2019 . Ms. Joanna Katarzyna Rodzinka-pasko, research project manager, described the eye tracking procedures. Prof. John. P. John, Additional Professor of Psychiatry, NIMHANS, India & Dr. Haridas VT, Neurologist, Thrissur presented topics.
Recruitment : ongoing
The next stage research project proposal lead by Aberdeen University, InMind , SCARF, National Hospital, Chenguzhu ( China) was shortlisted for the NIHR Global garnt 2019-2020. NIHR Grant proposal development conference and stakeholder meetings ( Kerala, Chennai, Chenguzhu) were held in July 2019.
3. Formation of Kerala Mental Health Research Network
KMHRN is formed by mental health professionals interested in research and innovation with the aim of building research capacity in the state. This network is hosted by OpenMind Mental Health Society, Thrissur and housed by Institute for Mind and Brain, Thrissur. KMHRN will offer the opportunity to run multicentric research projects across the state. KMHRN members submit proposals to the network; proposals that are adopted can be centrally managed. KMHRN will coordinate and provide facilities like ethics approval, patient and carer engagement opportunities, inhouse biostatistics input, and rapid data entry and analysis options. KMHRN will forge links with leading research institutions and individuals. This will help improve the quality of research in the state and facilitate publication and dissemination of information. KMHRN hopes to take the lead in building mental health research capacity in Kerala.
KMHRN Launch event was held on Feb 9, 10, 2019 at OpenMind Hall, InMind campus, Thrissur, Kerala. The event was inaugurated by Prof Roy Abraham Kallivayail, Secretary General , World Psychiatric Association, Geneva in the presence of Dr Ravi Kumar, President Indian Psychiatric Society, Kerala. Workshop was attended by Dr Joy Elamon, Director, Kerala Institute for Local Administration, by professors and head of psychiatry departments from medical collegs in Kerala. Professors Praveenlal, Shaji KS, Varughese Punnoose,Vidhu Kumar, Harish MT, and Sanju George attended and guided the workshop activities. Professor Athula Sumathipaala (Emeritus Professor , Kings College , London & Professor , Keele University , UK ) & Professor Tine Van Bortel: (Professor of Global Mental Health, Director, Public Health Institute, Cambridge University) & Dr Manoj Therayil Kumar, Director OpenMind, led the workshops. Professor Tine Van Bortel now chairs KMHRN’s international faculty committee.
4. Kerala Health AwaaaZ ( Health and wellbeing assessment and action)
Population Cohort study
Health and wellbeing of individuals and populations are shaped by various factors including economic, cultural, environmental, social and behavioural factors. Wellbeing of our communities need to be understood as a product of larger interaction of these forces/factors. Mapping ward level wellbeing is crucial in understanding local strengths and needs. This would inform policy and help practice. We have piloted a comprehensive wellbeing
assessment method to do ward level mapping in Ponani. We are now piloting this in a larger area, for example in a district. This would allow panchayath level wellbeing mapping. This can be hugely beneficial to the efforts of health and social care departments improve population health. A representative random sample of adults would be surveyed, and the results and reports would be prepared and submitted to department of health and public for further actions. We work closely with Cambridge university public health institute on this project.
5. Health Awaaaz (Cross sectional study of students)
This study looks at comprehensive well being assessment of student samples to validate a new wellbeing assessment tool.
6. Stress and resilience workshops
InMind provides stress and resilience training using experiential learning methods in a workshop setting to Colleges, universities and various occupational groups.
7. Suicide Prevention Online Training Course ( SPOT)
Globally, around eight million people die by suicide every year. For India, this figure stands at 250,000. In Kerala, around 8,000 people end their life each year. Many of these suicides could have been prevented if there would have been opportunities to talk openly to someone about the inner pain and stressful thoughts and then to seek help if needed. The more we are able to identify someone in distress and engage in caring conversations, the more we can help save lives. In 2016, the Kerala state government declared its intention to bring the suicide rate down from 24.9 per lakh (i.e. per 100,000) to 16 per lakh population in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) programme. We hope that this short course will be useful in our efforts to achieve this.
This skill-based online course (SPOT: Suicide Prevention Online Training) will prepare participants to be capable and knowledgeable in helping people in emotional distress. It is developed by a team of experts with vast experience in mental health and suicide prevention. The course is free and would take six to eight hours ( ie one working day) to complete and successful participants will receive a certificate.
Our larger aim is to train all key players in the state (for example; health care workforce, teachers, police, grass root leaders etc) and to make Kerala the first geographical area in the world to be 100% ‘emotionally literate and ready to help others in distress’.
In partnership with Ponani municipality, we are also developing culturally contextualised public and gatekeeper intervention programmes to prevent suicide through extensive stakeholder involvement and engagement. These interventions will prepare the community to provide early emotional support to individuals who may be facing crisis in the community. A 24-hour emotional crisis help-line will supplement this population level preventative intervention to address the major public health issue around suicide. We are inviting key professional, academic and research leaders including District Medical Officer and other key doctors to contribute to this project and to apply for global research grants for developing countries to continue with this stream of work.