Just six months into 2023, one of India’s most renowned institutions the Indian Institute of Technology - Madras (IIT-Madras) came under immense flak over four suspected student suicides at its campus.
In an effort to address the issue, IIT Madras Director V Kamakoti told The Free Press Journal that the institute has taken up a couple of measures which have seen ‘positive response from the students.’
“We had a really tough time last academic year and now we are trying to put processes in place post-Covid. The institute is seeing a positive response from the students to all the wellness initiatives,” said Kamakoti.
Measures taken by IIT Madras in light of suicides
According to Kamakoti, IIT Madras conducted a comprehensive survey, including faculty members and students, and set up an independent team of counsellors who regularly visit the hostels and its departments.
“Our institute has also structured faculty-student interactions and meetings, while also identifying tough listeners to whom students can vent out. We have also assured the students of a time-bound redressal scheme,” added Kamakoti.
IIT Madras Btech student's death shook friends, family
Though all the instances of suicides at the campus highlighted a glaring problem, the most recent death of 20-year-old Kedar Choughule, a second-year Btech student from Kolhapur in April 2023, put more scrutiny on how IIT Madras is handling the incidents.
“He always lived in the present and didn’t care much about the past or what might happen in the future,” is how his friends described while talking to The FPJ in April 2023.
So how is ‘stress’ making students take such extreme steps and what can be done about it? Kamakoti believes there’s a solution.
“I don’t think there’s one person who says they are not stressed. We need to equip students to handle this stress very confidently,” asserted Kamakoti.
Institute hopes for success with mental health initiatives
Infact just days before the Kolhapur native’s death, IIT Madras started its wellness session series on April 19, which is being conducted with the support of the National Health Mission, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu, to enable mental wellness programmes across the state.
“The wellness initiatives we have taken will slowly build the confidence among students to handle the same. We have one more year's time and I am sure it will work out,” said a confident Kamakoti.
IIT-M lands record funding in 2022-23
On Monday, the top-ranked Indian institute as per National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) said that it has raised its highest-ever funding of Rs 231 crores in funding received from alumni, individual donors, and industry during the financial year 2022-23.
According to the data shared by IIT-Madras, the fundraising has recorded a year-on-year growth of 76 percent vis a vis Rs 131 crore in FY22. As per the release, the number of donors giving over Rs 1 crore has also increased by 64 percent from the previous year.
Individuals who need help can contact Mumbai BMC Mental Health Helpline: 022-24131212 (24x7) or The Samaritans Mumbai: 8422984528/842984529/8422984530