Open Letter to Hon'ble Minister of HRD
Sub: Addressing the Mental Health Issues among Indian Students
Education is one of the most critical responsibilities of the state. Education system imparts knowledge to students, lay emphasis on their physical well-being and prepare them for social challenges. But unfortunately, Indian educational institutions and teachers are not yet equipped to understand the mental health issues of students while students are one of the most vulnerable groups of people who could be prone to mental health issues.
According to a study by Prof S. Deb et al in 2016, around 37% college students in India are suffering from depression or some form of mental illness. India also has one of the highest student suicide rates in the world, and on an average, one student commits suicide every hour, according to the data presented by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
Alarmingly high rise has been seen in the Psychological / Psychiatric concerns in children, especially behavioural issues and suicides. The pressure to get into a good university, coupled with the stress to score good grades as well as parental expectations and immense competition to do well, all result in students leading stressful lives. Other issues facing students include problems in relationships, family and economic troubles, bullying and discrimination which in turn affect their performance negatively and can result in mental health issues.
Children and young adults have complicated emotional eco-systems that are easily afflicted by behavioural, emotional, learning or mental disorders, including – depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, disruptive behaviour disorders, Intellectual Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD.
It is therefore my humble submission to kindly treat the issue with utmost urgency and do the necessary intervention in this reference. On behalf of the Bharatiya Counselling Psychology Association, I have the following recommendation to make.
Mental Health Education should be made essential part of the all curriculum high-school onward irrespective of the board, level and medium of education.
It should be made integral part of the all teacher training programs.
Preventive Mental Health Intervention should be launched at all academic institutions.
A full time Counselling Psychologist must be appointed at all academic institutions with high school level and above.
Part time (Weekly) engagement of Clinical Psychologist and Psychiatrist at every institution is an added value.
Minimum Qualification for this Counselling Psychologist should be PG in Psychology.
A mechanism should be evolved to ensure the compliance and quality of services.
I am sure if these interventions are made we will be able to address the issue to some extent. We assure the best support from the association and we look forward to an affirmation response and better mental health for our children.
With best wishes