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Even as the number of students committing suicides is rising, experts have raised an alarm over non-availability of full-time counsellors in colleges across the city. Monday 10th Sept. was observed as World Suicide Prevention Day. While several colleges have psychology professors doubling up as counsellors, many others have discontinued the facility as they claim students shy away from approaching them. Till two years ago, Vile Parles Sathaye College had a separate counselling room. However, the facility was withdrawn as nobody visited the counsellor. Now, psychology department teachers act as counsellors.
Teachers have been told to be alert and look out for students with unusual behaviors’, said college Principal Kavita Rege. Father Frazer Mascarenhas, principal of St Xaviers College, said, A personal counsellor is needed not a full-time psychiatrist. We have two teachers trained in counselling. The college had a once-a-week visiting psychiatrist, however the facility was discontinued. Our centre has two people attending to students. Cases needing drug treatment are referred to doctors. We also have a mentoring system, said the principal. However, psychiatrists say colleges are hiding behind excuses. Psychiatrist Harish Shetty said, Colleges make teachers conduct a couple of workshops for NAAC accreditation. A good facility will be utilized by many students who need help. Ramnarain Ruia and St Andrews colleges too have teachers doubling up as counsellors. Marie Fernandes, principal of St Andrews College, said, we have class teachers like in schools. They meet every student and take their signatures. Psychology teachers serve as counsellors. The campus minister, a priest, is also approached by students if they need help. Vandrevala Mental Health Helpline: 1860 266 2345
Times View: Counsellors a necessity in colleges
Full-time counsellors in colleges have become more of a necessity than a luxury, given the large number of suicides by collegians in the recent past. The incidents are a pointer to the difficulty that college-goers have balancing studies and the pressure to excel with relationships and immense peer pressure. Having someone to open up to and receive guidance from can reduce these suicides.
Courtesy: Times of India
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