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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Nature therapy route to check IIT suicides - TNN


Somdatta Basu | TNN | Apr 23, 2017, 06.22 AM IST

KOLKATA: Suicide of Nidhin N, a fourth-year student of department of aerospace engineering of IIT-Kharagpur, at his Nehru Hall B Block ground floor room on Friday is not the only such incident at the institute. It was only in January that a third-year civil engineering student jumped in front of a train at Jakpur station near the campus. 

IIT-Kgp authorities are now initiating a number of measures focusing on nurturing a students' community connected with each other and the environment on the campus. 

To begin with, the semester students are gearing up to take a course on the science of happiness. As part of this course, students have already conducted "out of the box" projects with faculty and staff. 

Japanese program of "shinrin-yoku" or forest bathing (spending time in a forest) has also been adopted with a twist. It has been noticed that nature therapy heals depression. The counselling centre is working on a plan called "Life under the Canopy". Students will have to identify a list of 12 trees on the campus. Then they will have to take a picture with a friend under a tree and submit it. It's also part of the nature therapy. 

To promote happiness, IIT-Kharagpur had hosted Saamdu Chetri, the director of the Gross National Happiness Center of Bhutan, in April. Students, faculty and staff had a chance to listen to him impart some of the philosophy of the Bhutanese people. Happiness, the people in Bhutan feel, comes from spending time with each other and with nature. The country is known for its happiness quotient.

Top Comment
I am quite sure that Arvind Kejriwal has something to do with the application of this pseudo scientific method to check suicides in this institute of Higher Learning in India. For an institution set up on the Scientific Method, one would think that they would appoint counselors, therapists, and social workers to determine what is causing this spurt of suicides amongst students, and take remedial measures. Alas, instead of doing so, they are embarking on an untested, non-peer reviewed methodology to address this recent malaise that has overtaken their campus. One can only hope that they would not go the additional step and appoint witch doctors, soothsayers, faith healers, palmists and homeopaths, to actually treat those people who need real psychiatric attention! Arvind Kejriwal seems to have made his mark in his old alma mater!
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"One of the important lessons in life to flourish is to be okay about getting help when you need it," said Sangeeta Das Bhattacharya, the professor in charge of the counselling centre. "It's a sign of strength. We are trying to promote help-seeking behavior, connectedness among students," she added. In some cases of extreme depression, parents of the students have been invited to stay on campus till the physicians give a clean chit to the students.




IIT-Kgp has a busy counselling centre and each year they witness about 3000 visits.





"Trees on the gorgeous campus of the institute date back to over a century. People can visit the centre or check the Facebook page for a list of twelve trees on campus," said a senior faculty member of the institute. 

"One of the important lessons in life to flourish is to be okay about getting help when you need it," said Sangeeta Das Bhattacharya, the professor in charge of the counselling centre. "It's a sign of strength. We are trying to promote help-seeking behavior, connectedness among students," she added. In some cases of extreme depression, parents of the students have been invited to stay on campus till the physicians give a clean chit to the students.




IIT-Kgp has a busy counselling centre and each year they witness about 3000 visits.