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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Strong support structure for students needed - The Hindu

CHENNAI, September 23, 2015

The student’s death puts spotlight on psychiatric counselling services. In the last five years, at least five suicides have been reported from the institute. Three of them were by M. Tech students and two of them hailed from a modest background.

Psychiatrists say medically the number of suicides is no different from the general population but they call for concerted efforts to prevent them. Three years ago, a report was submitted to the Central government recommending changes to prevent suicides in IITs and centrally-funded institutions.

Alok Bajpai, psychiatrist attached to IIT-Kanpur said: “We have a counselling service at IIT-Kanpur, but despite our best support, they do happen. At one point a spate of suicides was reported with six or seven students from various classes. But it is now more or less controlled.”

Dr. Bajpai said huge societal pressure of unnecessary competitiveness, disappearance of flexibility on the part of their parents and economic pressure “push students over the edge.”

Help at hand
IIT-M has an organisation called Mitr for students to access psychiatric help. “It is a group with students and professors representing various departments. The student group will put us on to professors who then help us consult a psychiatrist. 

Students can also call the helpline and meet a psychiatrist,” said a recent graduate.


Professor Bhaskar Ramamurthy, Director, said: “The Anandakrishnan Committee recommendations had been implemented in full. Ultimately it is for the student to seek out help. He said the boy was doing well in his studies.”