New Delhi: Setting up wellness teams, identifying students exhibiting warning signs and those at risk of self-harm and supporting them are part of the draft guidelines prepared by the Union Ministry of Education for schools to prevent student suicides. With “Every Child Matters” as the underlying belief in developing the guidelines, the draft details directions to schools for enhancing sensitivity and understanding and providing support in case of reported self-harm. The draft accessed by PTI also emphasises nurturing partnerships between schools, parents and the community, fostering societal support as a critical strategy for preventing suicides and reducing the stigma associated with suicidal behaviour.
Discarding damaging notions, including comparisons with peers, the perception of failure as permanent and the sole measurement of success based on academic performance, have also been recommended in the draft, besides locking empty classrooms, lighting up dark corridors and cleaning gardens and areas with excess growth of grass.
The draft for UMMEED (Understand, Motivate, Manage, Empathise, Empower, Develop) guidelines comes at a time when a record number of students preparing for engineering and medical entrance exams in coaching hub Kota have committed suicides in 2023.
A School Wellness Team (SWT) may be formed under the leadership of the School Principal, where each member of SWT is oriented in handling crisis situations. When a student displaying warning signs has been identified by any stakeholder, they need to be reported to the SWT, which takes immediate action. The guidelines said,
The SWT will also play an important role in implementation of school activities directed towards creating awareness about mental well-being, leading towards suicide prevention. However, SWT alone will not suffice in a school’s efforts towards prevention of suicide and would require the support of all stakeholders.
It has also been recommended that depending on the resources available within the school, the SWT be reconstituted on a regular basis to give all stakeholders in the school the opportunity to build awareness and capacity.
Additionally, it is important for the school to review the effectiveness of the SWT and its functioning on an annual basis, the guidelines said.
Students go through many transitions during their school life which can cause extreme stress, for example, transition from home to school, from one school to another, school to college, losing a parent, sibling, friend, near and dear one, etc. The guidelines noted,
Along with this, children also experience changes as they progress through the developmental stages, leading to concerns such as those related to physical changes and appearance, peer pressure, career decisions, academic pressure, and many more. Amidst these challenges, a single insensitive comment has the potential to inflict lasting harm.
The draft further recommended that in order to effectively prevent suicides and ensure appropriate and timely response in situations of crisis, schools must actively work towards building the capacity of all stakeholders which includes teachers and school staff, students, families of students and others. The draft guidelines stated,
An important step in this direction is to enhance their knowledge and encouraging peer support, organising activities on a regular basis for relaxing and reducing stress, providing channels for expression, compiling resources to seek support, integrating mental well-being in school functioning, creating a safe environment in school and beyond including vigilance at railway tracks, river banks, bridges, cliffs, medical shops, etc.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoilets are used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.