New Delhi: With an alarming increase in student suicides, a mental health wellness organisation has called for the implementation of comprehensive mental health plans in schools.
Manasthali seeks to address the urgent need for proactive measures to counteract the distressing trend of student suicides and foster a safe and supportive environment for all students.
The distressing rise in student suicides has ignited concerns across society. The pressures of academic performance, social interactions, and the ongoing challenges of the digital age have contributed to an escalating mental health crisis among young people, the organisation said in a statement.
Manasthali firmly believes that schools play a pivotal role in preventing these tragic incidents and promoting mental well-being.
In India, just one professional is available for every 1,00,000 people, and the cost of counselling or psychiatric consultations is very high, making it difficult for students to avail these services.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau's (NCRB) 'Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India' report, over 13,000 students died in India, at more than 35 deaths per day.
In 2018, the government launched the school health programme under the Ayushman Bharat scheme.
"In the pursuit of nurturing young minds, a vital imperative emerges: the implementation of comprehensive mental health plans within schools. The escalating toll of student suicides demands a proactive response that transcends traditional academic paradigms. Such plans should encompass not only crisis intervention but also preventive measures, destigmatising conversations around mental well-being.
"By fostering a culture of empathy and support, schools can become sanctuaries where students feel valued and understood. A robust mental health framework must involve accessible counselling services, awareness campaigns, teacher training, and parental involvement." said Dr Jyoti Kapoor, Founder-Director and senior psychiatrist, Manasthali.
Manasthali's initiative centres around six components.
The organisation urges educational institutions, both private and government-run, to take immediate action in developing and implementing comprehensive mental health plans. Secondly, it emphasises that mental health plans should prioritise the unique needs of students. The plans should foster a culture of open dialogue, encouraging students to share their thoughts and concerns without fear of judgment.
Thirdly, schools should establish mechanisms to identify early signs of mental distress among students. By providing timely intervention through counselling services and appropriate referrals, the chances of preventing crises can be significantly enhanced.
Manasthali also advocates easily accessible and well-equipped counselling services within schools.
By investing in mental health plans, schools can create a positive and lasting impact on students' lives, empowering them to lead emotionally healthy and fulfilling lives beyond their academic years, the statement added.
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