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Saturday, July 25, 2015

IIT-Bombay to get more proactive on counselling students Indian Express

To discuss with experts structure of a counselling centre an institute like IIT-B needs for its 9,000-odd students.

Written by Mihika Basu | Mumbai | Published:July 24, 2015 1:49 am

Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay.

To move from a ‘mostly reactive’ to more proactive counselling services for its students, the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay will soon consult experts to give shape to a counselling centre best suited for an institute like IIT that has students from diverse backgrounds. The institute saw a suicide in May this year when a chemical engineering student ended his life. 
Another student had committed suicide last year.

The institute currently has two counsellors, besides a person who looks at preventive mental health scenarios through lectures, talks and relaxation camps for students.

According to available information, one of the counsellors usually has 130 to 150 students visiting every month. Some are first-time visitors, and several among them do not have to come back for a second visit. There are some repeat visits, and then there are cases where the issue has been resolved and the student makes one last visit. The other counselor is learnt to have handled around 130 cases last year.

Prof Soumyo Mukherji, Dean of Students Affairs, said the institute would soon hire one more counselor.

The aim is to more effectively address problems affecting
students, which could range from depression and performance anxiety to issues faced while settling in a competitive environment.

“While our counselling services are mostly reactive at present, the idea is to extend them to make them more pro-active. For that, we need to hire more people and we will soon hire one more counselor. Further, we are going to have a meeting with renowned psychiatrist and professor Dr Vikram Patel, along with other experts, psychologists and psychiatrists on the structure and specific requirements of a counselling centre for an institute like IIT-Bombay, which has a student strength of 9,000 from across the country,” said Professor Mukherji.

The body of 21-year-old Jitesh Sharma was found on the terrace of IIT-B’s hostel number 15B in May this year. According to the police, the suicide note said Sharma was worried about the results of his exams and that he feared he might not get a good placement.

The family of another IIT-B student, who died last year after a fall from the sixth-floor balcony of another hostel on the campus, had said he was undergoing treatment for depression.

Among other initiatives, the institute also started a Facebook page, “ICare IITB: counselling and mental health”, earlier this year where both students and faculty members can share their views and problems.

According to officials, it is an attempt to reach out to the students and address their stress, anger and related issues in a friendly, unconventional and non-intimidating way.

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