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Surge in Mental Health Counseling Among Students

Due to an increase in suicides and academic stress, some students are feeling the need to seek mental health counseling. According to the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), a student committed suicide every 42 minutes in 2020, resulting in greater awareness of mental health therapy in India.

In 2023, the number of students (aged 14 to 20) receiving mental health counseling increased by nearly 65%.

According to a study conducted by PeakMind, the most common pain points that students have reached out to address their inability to concentrate in studies are academic distress caused by performance pressure and test anxiety, fear of failure, lack of motivation, disturbed sleep, recurring negative thoughts and self-doubts, low energy followed by relationship issues and the general anxiety about their future. The major reason behind their ability to concentrate is the digital and social media addiction and the lack of effective guidance. The study considered the data collected from January to December 2023. The study has laid importance to the fact that more students are realising the importance and impact that counselling has on their psychological well-being.

According to multiple reports, in India, a staggering number of 35,950 students lost their lives to suicides between 2019-2021. Study pointed to the fact that more students as compared to farmers died in 2020. Due to increased suicides among students, Education Ministry has developed draft UMMEED guidelines with ‘every child matters’ as an underlying belief. These guidelines have prioritised the setting up of School Wellness Teams (SWT) to identify vulnerable students exhibiting warning signs and provide much-needed support. This means that every day, more than 34 students died by suicide. Most of these suicides were reported among students studying in premier institutions and those who were preparing for competitive or board exams.

Neeraj Kumar, founder and CEO PeakMind, says, “The alarming numbers of suicides indicate that we as a society are not able to provide an emotionally supportive and intellectually enriching environment for individuals to thrive in. When it comes to preventive care, our efforts should focus increasingly on young adults, who are dealing with insurmountable demands of education, career and relationships. It is comforting to see that young adults are recognising the need to seek experts’ help. However, there is no better cure than prevention and we need to work at developing and leveraging technology to identify the vulnerable youth who might be struggling more than others in meeting the demands of life. Once identified, constructive steps should be taken to provide customised care and support which would help them in not only overcoming the issues that they are battling, but also enhance their overall psychological well-being. It will aid them immensely in recognising their untapped potential and performing well in every sphere of their life.”

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