College teachers will collaborate with the health department, which has recently launched a mental health tele-counselling service number 1075 to help address mental health concerns during the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. As part of the collaboration, college teachers will be trained to further expand the scope of the helpline and ensure that students avail the service. Colleges are also exploring the possibility of including conversations around mental health as part of lesson plans.
To address the concerns of students and guide colleges in chalking out the modalities of mental health support, a team of doctors conducted a webinar for college principals on Saturday. They discussed various issues pertaining to rising mental stress and anxiety during the pandemic and coping mechanisms.
Pooja Khullar, the principal of Dronacharya Government College, said that mental health concerns due to the spread of the pandemic were afflicting students as well.
“Students are slipping into depression and anxiety due to various reasons. They are confined to their houses and struggling with uncertainties. Some of them are also facing parental pressure at home. Recent incidents of celebrity deaths have also generated a conversation around mental health concerns, which necessitates that students are made aware of the various options where they can avail support,” Khullar said.
She said that doctors had advised teachers to play a proactive role and ensure that students can share their concerns in appropriate forums. “We are considering the possibility of approaching the university and introducing changes in the curriculum. We can design the curriculum in such a way that every week, we have one or two sessions dedicated to discussing mental health,” Khullar said.
She said that the department was working on the modalities, but for now, the health department would be sharing necessary resources on dealing with mental health issues, which would be circulated among the student community.
Satyamanyu Yadav, the principal of Government College in Sector 9, said that teachers had been asked to popularise the state mental health helpline number among students and motivate them to avail help from experts if needed. Based on requirements, the department was also willing to hold separate webinars for college students, Yadav said.
“With no end to the pandemic in sight, students are worried about their future. Such concerns can be dealt with better communication and help from experts. Doctors from the health department said that they’d be training teachers so that they can communicate better and reach out to students,” Yadav said.