Dedicated HELPLINE to be part of it
NGO helps build capacity and manage HELPLINE
Hyderabad, December 2022: In a first, the Telangana Minority Residential Schools (TMREIS), have embarked on a plan to set up a comprehensive, Mental Health program for the over 1.3 lacs students across 200 plus schools and colleges in the state.
TMREIS has tied up with Helping Hand Foundation (HHF), a health care NGO to help build capacity and to run the HELPLINE services.
In the post COVID scenario, mental health of students has taken a toll across all age groups leaving the students vulnerable to an array of mental health issues not only in TMREIS but all schools/colleges in general across the board. Examination induced stress, anxiety of performance, child sexual abuse, tendency for suicide & behavioural issues are being commonly encountered in schools.
The key components of the Mental Health program would 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.
Post the orientation the teacher-counsellors will be able to identify signs and symptoms of students having any mental health related issue, which they will immediately red-flag to a dedicated HELPLINE.
As a part of the plan, suggestion boxes will be kept in each school along with displays of HELPLINE numbers. Students are being encouraged to drop a note 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 on site in the school classrooms & provide fortnightly feedback to the HELPLINE on the student’s mental health.
Releasing the Mental Health Awareness poster, Mr. B. Shafiullah IFS, Secretary of TMREIS said “this is one of first structured mental health programs by a government residential school and with proper training and a HELPLINE, student’s mental issues will be promptly addressed.