Indian hockey

India vs Japan Asia Cup, three talking points: Life under Sjoerd Marijne begins on the right note

Powered by Harmanpreet, India thrashed Japan 5-1 in their opening game in Dhaka on Wednesday.

The Indian hockey men’s team began their journey under new coach Sjoerd Marijne on a positive note as they beat Japan 5-1 in their Asia Cup opener in Dhaka on Wednesday. With critics lamenting that Marijne, who has never coached a men’s team before, wasn’t the right man for the job, his team’s aggressive display would have silenced them at least for the time being.

Here are the talking points from an enthralling performance by India:

The Marijne effect

Against Japan, India were a different team compared to the side under former coach Dutchman Roelant Oltmans. India was playing quick passes and the play was direct. They looked a different team from the side that flattered to deceive in the Hockey World League semi-finals and the European tour.

India continued to dominate possession and infiltrate the Japanese defence. It is early days but its seems that the coach likes playing to the team’s strengths: Quick passing and using pace to get behind the opposition defence.
SV Sunil’ s opening goal for India was a prime example of India’s lethal and effective counter-attack as well. Along with Akashdeep Singh, the duo outran the Japanese defenders to score the goal. Sunil received the ball in India’s half and passed it on to Akashdeep who made a deep run with it. Meanwhile, Sunil ran behind the Japanese defenders and then received a through pass from Akashdeep. With only the goalkeeper to beat, Sunil made no mistake to slot the ball into the net.

India’s second goal was also exquisite as a long ball from captain Harmanpreet Singh to Lalit Upadhyay resulted in a stunner. Upadhyay received the ball inside the striking circle with a defender marking him. However, he made a quick turn and smashed the ball in the left side corner of the net. It was a dominating display to the say the least.

Harmanpreet stepping up

Harmanpreet Singh has the talent to be one of the best drag flickers in the sport. Against Japan, Singh slotted home two brilliant penalty corners to prove the point. In his first penalty corner he kept the ball low and it went under the goalkeeper’s leg to give India a 4-1 lead. His second goal was a touch of class as Varun Kumar received the ball only to deceive the Japanese players. He made a turn of almost 180 degrees towards Harmanpreet who then slotted the ball through the top left corner of the net.

Even with a two-goal cushion in the third quarter, he made sure that India did not become complacent at any point during the match. With his brace, he made sure that the match was beyond Japan’s reach.

Hockey India
Hockey India

Sardar’s deep role

Senior players Sardar Singh, SV Sunil and Akashdeep Singh made to starting XI of the team after a break that saw them miss the European tour. With Sunil upfront and Akashdeep assisting him, Sardar was seen at the defensive line, which was a surprise for many.

The otherwise versatile and flamboyant playmaker, who loves playing in the midfield, quietly went about dictating the flow of attacks. Along with Surender Kumar, Varun Kumar and Chinglensana Singh the Indian backline was sturdy and after the first goal fiasco, made sure that the mistake wasn’t repeated again.

With India set to take on Bangladesh on Friday, it will interesting to see whether India can repeat such a performance.

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Removing the layers of complexity that weigh down mental health in rural India

Patients in rural areas of the country face several obstacles to get to treatment.

Two individuals, with sombre faces, are immersed in conversation in a sunlit classroom. This image is the theme across WHO’s 2017 campaign ‘Depression: let’s talk’ that aims to encourage people suffering from depression or anxiety to seek help and get assistance. The fact that depression is the theme of World Health Day 2017 indicates the growing global awareness of mental health. This intensification of the discourse on mental health unfortunately coincides with the global rise in mental illness. According to the latest estimates from WHO, more than 300 million people across the globe are suffering from depression, an increase of 18% between 2005 and 2015.

In India, the National Mental Health Survey of India, 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) revealed the prevalence of mental disorders in 13.7% of the surveyed population. The survey also highlighted that common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. Perhaps the most crucial finding from this survey is the disclosure of a huge treatment gap that remains very high in our country and even worse in rural areas.

According to the National Mental Health Programme, basic psychiatric care is mandated to be provided in every primary health centre – the state run rural healthcare clinics that are the most basic units of India’s public health system. The government provides basic training for all primary health centre doctors, and pays for psychiatric medication to be stocked and available to patients. Despite this mandate, the implementation of mental health services in rural parts of the country continues to be riddled with difficulties:

Attitudinal barriers

In some rural parts of the country, a heavy social stigma exists against mental illness – this has been documented in many studies including the NIMHANS study mentioned earlier. Mental illness is considered to be the “possession of an evil spirit in an individual”. To rid the individual of this evil spirit, patients or family members rely on traditional healers or religious practitioners. Lack of awareness on mental disorders has led to further strengthening of this stigma. Most families refuse to acknowledge the presence of a mental disorder to save themselves from the discrimination in the community.

Lack of healthcare services

The average national deficit of trained psychiatrists in India is estimated to be 77% (0.2 psychiatrists per 1,00,000 population) – this shows the scale of the problem across rural and urban India. The absence of mental healthcare infrastructure compounds the public health problem as many individuals living with mental disorders remain untreated.

Economic burden

The scarcity of healthcare services also means that poor families have to travel great distances to get good mental healthcare. They are often unable to afford the cost of transportation to medical centres that provide treatment.

After focussed efforts towards awareness building on mental health in India, The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF), founded by Deepika Padukone, is steering its cause towards understanding mental health of rural India. TLLLF has joined forces with The Association of People with Disability (APD), a non-governmental organisation working in the field of disability for the last 57 years to work towards ensuring quality treatment for the rural population living with mental disorders.

APD’s intervention strategy starts with surveys to identify individuals suffering from mental illnesses. The identified individuals and families are then directed to the local Primary Healthcare Centres. In the background, APD capacity building programs work simultaneously to create awareness about mental illnesses amongst community workers (ASHA workers, Village Rehabilitation Workers and General Physicians) in the area. The whole complex process involves creating the social acceptance of mental health conditions and motivating them to approach healthcare specialists.

Participants of the program.
Participants of the program.

When mental health patients are finally free of social barriers and seeking help, APD also mobilises its network to make treatments accessible and affordable. The organisation coordinates psychiatrists’ visits to camps and local healthcare centres and ensures that the necessary medicines are well stocked and free medicines are available to the patients.

We spent a lot of money for treatment and travel. We visited Shivamogha Manasa and Dharwad Hospital for getting treatment. We were not able to continue the treatment for long as we are poor. We suffered economic burden because of the long- distance travel required for the treatment. Now we are getting quality psychiatric service near our village. We are getting free medication in taluk and Primary Healthcare Centres resulting in less economic stress.

— A parent's experience at an APD treatment camp.

In the two years TLLLF has partnered with APD, 892 and individuals with mental health concerns have been treated in the districts of Kolar, Davangere, Chikkaballapur and Bijapur in Karnataka. Over 4620 students participated in awareness building sessions. TLLLF and APD have also secured the participation of 810 community health workers including ASHA workers in the mental health awareness projects - a crucial victory as these workers play an important role in spreading awareness about health. Post treatment, 155 patients have resumed their previous occupations.

To mark World Mental Health Day, 2017, a team from TLLLF lead by Deepika Padukone visited program participants in the Davengere district.

Sessions on World Mental Health Day, 2017.
Sessions on World Mental Health Day, 2017.

In the face of a mental health crisis, it is essential to overcome the treatment gap present across the country, rural and urban. While awareness campaigns attempt to destigmatise mental disorders, policymakers need to make treatment accessible and cost effective. Until then, organisations like TLLLF and APD are doing what they can to create an environment that acknowledges and supports people who live with mental disorders. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.