Dr Gitanjali Kalia, Associate Professor, Chitkara University

A creative enthusiast by heart and an academician by profession, Dr Gitanjali Kalia has nearly 11 years of work experience in the field as well as in education. A PhD in the field of Online Advertising, she is currently working as an Associate Professor at Chitkara University. Dr Gitanjali has authored many research papers and articles for various journals, magazines, and newspapers and has also been the contributor of chapters to Indian Universities for distance learning programmes. A voracious reader by nature, she pens down her thoughts as a blogger and her poems have been published by Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi in a compilation.

 

Hello students, how are you doing? Hope you are focussing and coping well with your studies. Is there any difficulty you are facing with your online studies? Don’t worry, this shall too pass.

Sounds concerning, isn’t it? How many of us from the education field practice it?

‘Yes, I am fine Sir/Ma’am’, the most common answer you will get for every question you ask, but this fine connotation has a lot of unsaid fines that a person has to pay for bearing the difficulties alone. Hope you might have understood the topic of this article, MENTAL HEALTH.

India is a country with a maximum of the youth population, but with the increasing depression cases among youth, this strength is a matter of concern. Therefore, it becomes the moral responsibility of parents, teachers and educational institutions to handle this tender age intelligently and diligently. Unfortunately, youth do follow youth icons like Deepika Padukone, Kangana Renaut, Lady Gaga, J.K Rowling, Ileana D’Cruz, and many more who have been survivors of depression but are not learning any lessons from them. The recent suicide cases among youngsters urged me to write on this subject.

The recent report by NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) shows that that 10,159 students died by suicide in 2018, an increase from 9,905 in 2017, and 9,478 in 2016. Every hour one student commits suicide in India, with about 28 such suicides reported every day, according to data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

WHO defines ‘Health’ as a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

With such a deteriorating situation, I think there is a need to ponder over our education system as education is about living a worthy life than filling our pockets. Therefore, it is the need of an hour to introspect our education model that whether we are moving ahead in the right direction in dealing with young minds. Are we teaching them to live a fruitful and happy life or we are just emphasising on making them profit-making machines? Are we pressurising them for a number race? Are we trying to accomplish our ambitions through their achievements?

National Mental Health Survey in their 2015-16 report revealed that nearly 15% of Indian adults need active intervention and one in 20 Indians suffer from depression.

Ironically, the word depression has been existent and penetrating into society from the past 4-5 years. However, this term has recently caught fire with the death of a young, famous, intelligent and lively celebrity Sushant Singh Rajpoot. Since then, it has become a never-ending trend among youth. Immediately after Sushant suicidal act, there was a news about his fan committing suicide under depression, 18 years of youth committing suicide due to exam pressure and so on and so forth. It is disheartening to see when youth icons, who are idolised by younger generation commit crimes like this. The teachers need to think about what is missing in the education system. Being a regular dealer with the youth, I would like to emphasise that mentoring should be incorporated in our education system for the overall growth of the student, not just in the sphere of education but also in the struggles of life. I think it is high time that educational institution should come up with the education model that emphasis on character building of the student than just intellect building, therefore teachers should talk on various topics for their upliftment:

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candour and more unashamed conversation.” Glenn Close

Consistent Mentoring is like a healthy diet that has a slow but gradual effect on the mind of the student. He/she should be given the space to freely interact with their preferred teacher or anyone that feels comfortable with during their learning hours in the college/school. We have often witnessed that students do improve in their performance after having a counselling session with their favourite mentors. Their likes, dislikes, friends, company they keep, the family ambience has an impact on the performance and mindset of the growing youth. Therefore it is important to nurture them as a positive human being.

Appreciate Uniqueness among students. Each student has a different calibre; therefore, no student should be judged based on their academic performance. Many students are sharp with their academic and intellectual skills, whereas many students are competent in technical abilities.

Building resilience in children is not about making them tough. Resilience is the ability to recover from difficulties and manage how you feel. Students in colleges or universities come from different background, therefore creating a stable environment in the classroom is most challenging for a teacher, but that should be maintained. They feel awkward on the grounds of their family backgrounds, language, appearance, skills and intellect, therefore making them feel comfortable in the class is very important. Consequently, they should be given challenges for testing their patience and ability to overcome it.

Acceptability and Empathy is another gut feeling that should be imbibed among the younger generation. Be yourself and learn to accept the way you are should be the first lesson to be taught in the class. One of the significant discrepancies in our education system is that we tend to motivate students by giving other’s example and evaluate them based on what others have achieved. The mentor should regularly apprise the student about being acceptable towards their strength and weakness and should try to convert their weakness into a strength.

1-hour meditation for a calm mind should be included as a mandatory hour in the timetable. It will help students a lot with context to sorting their mind and setting their priorities. Many research studies have shown that mediation enhances the ability of the mind to make decisions and take appropriate decision in life.

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