Sri Lanka in India

ICC likely to include pollution in playing conditions clause after smog-hit Delhi Test

The Sri Lankan players were seen fielding while wearing masks while India were batting.

The International Cricket Council might incorporate air pollution in its “Playing Conditions” clause, having taken a serious note of the plight of Sri Lankan cricketers during the recently-concluded Test match against India in the national capital.

The Lankan players were seen fielding while wearing anti-pollution masks while India were batting and most of their players complaining of breathlessness. Their pace bowlers Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Gamage also vomited due to uneasiness.

The ICC has now decided to refer the matter to its medical committee, which has been provided the relevant reports as well as data of the prevailing air quality in Delhi. “The ICC has noted the conditions in which Delhi Test was played and has already requested that the issue is considered by the medical committee for guidance should the situation arise in future. The matter is likely to be discussed in February’s ICC Meetings,” an ICC release said..

As a result, there could be a slight alteration in the clauses of the Playing Conditions, where the health hazard of players related to severe air pollution can be incorporated. “In ICC’s ‘Playing Conditions’, there is a separate sub-clause for weather.

Since this is a first instance in the game’s 140-year history that a Test match has been halted for 26 minutes due to air-pollution. The situation as we all know is very unique in nature,” a BCCI official said on conditions of anonymity.

Since the Playing Conditions never had any specific mention of air-pollution, it is expected that permissible Air Quality Index limit to play competitive cricket will be inserted. The Indian Medical Association’s president KK Aggarwal, in a letter to BCCI, has also urged the cricket’s governing body to include a clause on atmospheric pollution.

Aggarwal on his part also provided data as to how it was a serious health issue for players that the match was not stopped. “The safe levels of atmospheric particulate matter, according to World Health Organisation air-quality guidelines, are 20 g/cu mm (annual mean) for PM 10 and 10 g/cu mm (annual mean) for PM 2.5,” he said.

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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), 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. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.

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During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. 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.