New Delhi, 11th September 2023: In response to the alarming increase in student suicides, Manasthali, a leading mental health wellness organization, is urging a powerful call for the implementation of comprehensive mental health plans in schools. The organization’s initiative seeks to address the urgent need for proactive measures to counteract the distressing trend of student suicides and foster a safe, supportive environment for all students.
The distressing rise in student suicides has ignited concerns across society. The pressures of academic performance, social interactions, and the ongoing challenges of the digital age have contributed to an escalating mental health crisis among young people. Manasthali firmly believes that schools play a pivotal role in preventing these tragic incidents and promoting mental well-being.
In India, just one professional is available for every 100,000 people, and the cost of counseling or psychiatric consultations is very high, making it difficult for students to avail of these services.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) ‘Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India’ report, over 13,000 students died in India, at more than 35 deaths per day. In 2018, the government launched the school health programme under the Ayushman Bharat scheme.
“In the pursuit of nurturing young minds, a vital imperative emerges: the implementation of comprehensive mental health plans within schools. The escalating toll of student suicides demands a proactive response that transcends traditional academic paradigms. Such plans should encompass not only crisis intervention but also preventive measures, destigmatizing conversations around mental well-being. By fostering a culture of empathy and support, schools can become sanctuaries where students feel valued and understood. A robust mental health framework must involve accessible counseling services, awareness campaigns, teacher training, and parental involvement.” said, *Dr. Jyoti Kapoor, Founder-Director and Senior Psychiatrist, Manasthali.*
Manasthali’s initiative centers around the following essential components:
A- Immediate Action: The organization urges educational institutions, both private and government-run, to take immediate action in developing and implementing comprehensive mental health plans. These plans should encompass preventive measures, early intervention strategies, and robust support systems for students in distress.
B- Student-Centric Approach: Manasthali emphasizes that mental health plans should prioritize the unique needs of students. The plans should foster a culture of open dialogue, encouraging students to share their thoughts and concerns without fear of judgment.
C- Early Identification and Intervention: Schools should establish mechanisms to identify early signs of mental distress among students. By providing timely intervention through counseling services and appropriate referrals, the chances of preventing crises can be significantly enhanced.
D- Accessible Counseling Services: Manasthali advocates for easily accessible and well-equipped counseling services within schools. Trained mental health professionals should be available to provide confidential support to students facing emotional challenges.
E- Community Engagement: Manasthali encourages collaboration between schools, parents, mental health experts, and the wider community. By working together, a comprehensive support network can be established that nurtures students’ mental well-being.
F- Long-Term Impact: By investing in mental health plans, schools can create a positive and lasting impact on students’ lives, empowering them to lead emotionally healthy and fulfilling lives beyond their academic years.
Manasthali urges educational authorities, school boards, parents, and all stakeholders to rally behind this critical cause. By prioritizing mental health within schools, society can collectively contribute to reversing the devastating trend of student suicides.