UGC Draft Guidelines asking to create cells to address student mental health issues
India’s understanding and acceptance of mental health as a concept has come a long way in recent years. This resulted in crucial guidelines drafted by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to establish “student service centers” to address mental health issues among students at colleges, universities and educational institutions. superior in India.
The guidelines, entitled “Promotion of physical fitness, sports, health, well-being, psychological and emotional well-being of students”, will soon be published for comment and modification, focusing on ensuring the good -emotional, mental and physical being of the students. who require advice in the same aspects. These centers would aim to identify stress-prone and vulnerable students and provide them with the support they need.
Cells dedicated to well-being
Under these guidelines, it will be mandatory for all higher education institutions to have dedicated campus counselors who can help students. Additionally, specific cells would also be established to keep records of students from vulnerable and stress-prone backgrounds and abilities, The Indian Express reported.
Physical fitness, in the form of sports and extracurricular activities, would also be promoted, as well as special psychological care for pupils residing in rural areas and coming from diverse cultures. Women and students from the LGBTQIA+ community would also receive additional care in terms of emotional and psychological counseling.
Awareness of the LGBTQIA+ community
The written guidelines include special consideration for students from the LGBTQIA+ community, to provide them with the psychosocial support and guidance they need. This would be of major importance, as there are many psychological services that deny therapy to people in the community due to prejudice and personal prejudice.
Due to the discrimination, bullying and shame associated with being of a certain gender or sexuality, an alarming number of students have dropped out of school, sought treatment options or died. by suicide due to lack of acceptance even in the medical fraternity. . In October 2021, the National Medical Commission called for changes to all medical facility manuals containing “unscientific information” about the community.
This statement came after the Madras High Court judgment which stated that when teaching in UG or PG colleges and universities, nomenclature regarding gender or sex should not be taught in a manner that is or is perceived as discriminatory or derogatory to LGBTQIA+ people. community. This, coupled with a step towards inclusion by UGC, would be of great benefit to students in the community.
Hope for lower dropout rates
As reported by News18, UGC says the move would help reduce college dropout rates, and with student feedback, the respective colleges can devise strategies that would act as a resolution to their students’ mental health issues.
Students are often detached from their comfort zone when attending college, and UGC guidelines urge institutions to avoid harsh measures to address deviant behavior and instead focus on help from professionals such as psychiatrists and psychologists to understand students’ intentions and motivations and use these as a basis for resolution.
Ongoing focus on mental health
Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the conversation around mental health and psychological well-being has taken center stage in schools and colleges. The UGC had asked higher education institutions to set up mental health helplines to help and address students’ psychological and social concerns.
Regular mentoring, recording, and interactions by phone or video call were also encouraged at the college level. UGC has also launched a central free helpline (084611007) to respond to behavioral and emotional issues.
Also read: Changemakers! Here’s how these 6 NGOs are tackling mental health issues in India