Initiative to help students in distress

A number of schools in the City are part of an initiative to provide “peer support” and help other students - classmates or juniors - who might be under a lot of stress or depression.

This initiative has been started by a group of working professionals, civil society groups and principals of a few educational institutions in the City who were alarmed by the increasing number of suicides among the youth. The result of this was sessions in various schools to train students on various aspects of the concept of peer support.
In the last four months, nearly 200 students from 15 schools have participated in at least two workshops conducted by professional counsellors. Vinitha Shah, trainer at Parivarthan, was one of the counsellors who conducted a training session in December, last year. “The training comprised ways to make them aware of signs and symbols if their peers want to talk. It also sensitised them on the importance of peer support and focused on self awareness and stress. The students were trained in five to six batches of at least 10 students each,” she said.

While a number of schools may have their own counsellors, schoolchildren may not take their help due to a number of reasons. “How much the child is sharing with such counsellors, how much time such counsellors spend with children and what measures are taken by him/her if such counselling is not helping are some of the things that need to be considered,” said Shah.

St Germain High School, Francis Xavier’s School, St Anne’s School, St John’s School, Soundarya Shree Vidyamanya Vidyakendra, Tumkur Road, Ashwin English School were some of the schools that took part in the initiative.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Sharada N K, principal, Soundarya Shree Vidyamanya Vidyakendra School, said: “As many as 35 students from Class 10 and ten from Class 9 were part of a training programme held on March 1. The message conveyed is healthy and highly useful. It is a good initiative as it promotes an exchange between students and gives them relief in times of stress,” said Sharada.

The training sessions and workshops will be extended to other schools, according to J Fernandes, coordinator, Bangalore Multipurpose Social Service Society that started the programme. “We want to extend this training even to teachers to sensitise them on the subject. We may do this alongside the current training for students,” said Fernandez. St Aloysius College and Vimochana are other institutions that are part of this programme.

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