Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

History of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Central Institute of Psychiatry: Journey of Erna Hoch Centre for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Psychiatry

History of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Central Institute of Psychiatry: Journey of Erna Hoch Centre for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Article excerpt

Byline: Vinod. Sinha, Nishant. Goyal, Joyita. Sinha

Child and adolescent psychiatry has not been considered as an established field until the early 1900s till first such unit was started by Leo Kanner in 1930. In India, the first child guidance clinic was founded in 1938 in Mumbai by Dr. Clifford Manshardt. The child and adolescent Psychiatry unit at Central institute of Psychiatry has been into existence for the last 55 years and since then it has been an integral part of the institute in providing high-quality patient care, promoting substantial growth in research, and imparting education to the post graduate trainees and scholars in the field of child psychiatry. The journey embarked by it has been a phenomenal one and many laurels have already been achieved so far.

'There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace.'

Kofi Annan, Secretary General (United Nations)

Introduction

The discipline of child and adolescent psychiatry has now been well established in academic medicine for around 50 years,[1] especially in the Twentieth Century where significant growth has been made. The need for having a separate discipline was realized as many problems unique to children needed to be tackled. Apart from that, it was realized that stringent measures have to be taken to alleviate the sufferings of the children as adult psychopathology, and mental health problems are only an extension of child mental health problems and continuum in psychopathology.[2]

India with its 1.29 billion people constitutes the second most populous country in the world, while children (0-14 years) represents 39% of the total population of the country, which is way ahead of the entire population of the Australian continent. Speaking of the mental health facilities in India catering to the needs of children, we have yet a long way to go with the number of child psychiatrists in India being just a handful.

History of Child Psychiatry Worldwide

Child and adolescent psychiatry was not considered as an established field until the early 1900s. Early recognition of the field began in Germany, when Johannes Truper founded a school in the year 1892, where several doctors took training in child psychiatry. It was there that Theodor Ziehen, regarded as one of the pioneers of child psychiatry, gained practical child psychiatric experience as a consultation-liaison psychiatrist. The first academic child psychiatry department in the world was founded in 1930 by Leo Kanner (1894-1981), an Austrian immigrant, under the direction of Adolf Meyer at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland in the United States.[1] In India, the first child guidance clinic was founded in 1938 in Mumbai by Dr. Clifford Manshardt.[3]

Commentary

The mental hygiene movement which essentially dealt with the promotion of mental health extended its focus not just to adults but also to children, became popular in the early part of the twentieth century. According to Marfatia, one of the pioneers of child psychiatry in India, 'child psychiatric services are not only useful for treatment of psychiatric disorders but are an endeavour in the field of mental hygiene. Despite some of the pioneering efforts, the beginning of child psychiatry as a discipline was rather slow in India, it has received its due distinction as a subspecialty in the last two to three decades. Yet, only a few centers have well-established facilities in the area of child psychiatry. In this context, the story of the development of child psychiatric services at the Central Institute of Ranchi provides a historical framework of how new services develop. It is appropriate that the services are named after Dr Erna Hoch, who conducted the earliest research in child psychiatry in India in the late 1950s and 1960s. …

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