Mind your mind: TS minority residential schools launch mental health scheme, helpline

In this context, the Telangana Minority Residential Schools (TMREIS) has decided to set up a comprehensive mental health programme for over 1.3 lakh students across more than 200 schools and colleges in Telangana.

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  1 Jan 2023 4:30 AM GMT
Mind your mind: TS minority residential schools launch mental health scheme, helpline

Hyderabad: Covid-19 has taken a toll on the mental health of students of all age groups, leaving the students vulnerable to an array of mental health issues. Examination-induced stress, anxiety of performance, child sexual abuse, suicidal tendencies, and behavioural issues are being seen among students.

In this context, the Telangana Minority Residential Schools (TMREIS) has decided to set up a comprehensive mental health programme for over 1.3 lakh students across more than 200 schools and colleges in Telangana.

TMREIS has tied up with the Helping Hand Foundation (HHF), a Hyderabad-based health care NGO, to help build capacity and run the helpline.

The key components of the mental health programme will be to first build capacity, establish a helpline, provide suggestion boxes at each school, and to conduct live skills sessions on an ongoing basis.

About 250 teachers have been identified as counsellors after a careful selection process. They have undergone an extensive orientation program conducted by HHF, under Dr. Lavanya Mirala, senior clinical psychologist with HHF.

After the orientation, teacher-counsellors will be able to identify signs and symptoms of students with mental health issues, and they will immediately red-flag it to a dedicated helpline.

As part of the plan, suggestion boxes will be kept in each school and helpline numbers will be displayed. Students are being encouraged to drop notes in the boxes on their grievances, feedback, and any mental health-related issue.

The teacher counsellors will open the boxes and address the issues reported on a regular basis, wherever necessary. Counselling sessions will be done by a team of qualified psychologists through the helpline. The helpline can also be used by students directly to report any issue they are facing.

The teacher-counsellors will also conduct life skill sessions with students on handling examination-related stress, tackling anxiety and feeling of hopelessness, etc., in school classrooms and provide fortnightly feedback to the helpline on the student's mental health.

Regarding this first-of-its-kind initiative in a government educational institution, B. Shafiullah secretary of TMREIS, said, "This is one of first structured mental health programmes by a government residential school. With proper training and a helpline, student's mental issues will be promptly addressed."

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