CHENNAI : Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) started a wellness session series for its students today (19th April 2023), This series is part of a number of initiatives undertaken by the Institute to provide every student an environment filled with harmony and peace.
This program is being conducted with the support of the National Health Mission, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Tamil Nadu, for students through talks by renowned professionals involved in enabling mental wellness programmes across the State.
The objective is to increase awareness on Mental Health and various options available to students to address and mitigate stress whenever it is experienced.
Speaking on the occasion, Tmt. Shilpa Prabhakar Sathish, IAS, Mission Director, National Health Mission, Government of Tamil Nadu, spoke highlighted the Mental Health Programme implemented by the Government of Tamil Nadu and the various mental health activities initiated through the District Mental Health Programme for the Mental well-being of school and college students. She also described about the ‘Natpudan Ungalodu-Mananala Seva’ and Tele MANAS programme launched in October 2022.
Tmt. Shilpa Prabhakar Sathish also stated that the college years are an important developmental stage for students who face various challenges in the areas of education, social and personal life. Most students successfully overcome these challenges and achieve their potential. However, some students require the support of their parents, teachers and friends to overcome stress and other issues.
In this context, the Government of Tamil Nadu has taken measures to meet the emergent mental health needs of the students in schools and colleges through the implementation of the ‘Mana Nala Nallaatharavu Mandram’ (MaNaM) Programme. MaNaM focuses on promoting the Mental Health and Well-being of students in Colleges in the State by empowering them to recognise psychological symptoms early and seek Help appropriately.
Tamil Nadu has been the most student-friendly state as known by its initiatives such as reaching out to 2,56,959 NEET Aspirants and also special counseling services provided to 1,524 students returned from Ukraine. IIT Madras has a similar program called ‘MiTR,’ which is a student support initiative.
Students should draw inspiration and courage to face life’s challenges and odds with self-confidence and courage and never hesitate or delay in any form to take the right assistance from the MaNaM-MiTR programs and overcome the challenges arising from emotional and psychological distresses.
Mental Health Tele counselling services (14416) will be offered to IIT Students through TeleManas (14416), which is a 24X7 Toll-free helpline providing quick Mental Health counseling services to students in times of distress. Tamil Nadu has been the most student-friendly state as known by its initiatives such as reaching out to NEET Aspirants and also special counseling services provided to students returned students. In addition, the Counsellors and Psychologists in IIT will also be offered ‘Fellowship courses’ to strengthen their counselling and psychotherapy skills.
Speaking on the occasion, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, spoke about the various initiatives taken by IIT Madras to combat stress and improve mental well-being to convert IIT Madras campus to a “Be Happy” campus. He shared the launch of a new website https://behappy.iitm.ac.in/ primarily for students’ mental well-being.
This provides a time-bound redressal mechanism in addition to encouraging frequent and timely interaction between Faculty Advisors and students. This website also provides other initiatives providing “Listeners Option” wherein the students can reach out for support.
The wellness session series started with a lecture on ‘An Introduction to Positive Mental Health’ by Dr. M Malaiappan, Director and Professor of Psychiatry, Madras Medical College. This was followed by a detailed presentation on ‘Early Identification of Depression’ by Dr. M S Jagadeesan, Professor of Psychiatry, Madras Medical College. The session concluded with active participation of students in an interactive session.
The speakers addressed and clarified the doubts and apprehensions raised by the students with respect to mental wellness and encouraged them to adopt a stress-free lifestyle. Assistant program officers Dr. R. Karthik Deivanayagam and Dr V Divya shared their inputs for managing mental wellness.
IIT Madras has once again reconfirmed its commitment to enable access of such guidance and support through various initiatives with a prime intent of getting each and every student to lead a stress-free life within the campus and achieve their desired goals and ambitions.