Mangaluru colleges restrict entry of students to the terrace, plan to remove ceiling fans due to increasing suicide cases

Experts suggest that the teaching faculty must be practically trained in the identification of pathological depression and impulsive behaviour of students
Representational image (Picture: Express illustrations)
Representational image (Picture: Express illustrations)

After Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru removed ceiling fans to prevent students from hanging themselves, another institute in Karnataka wants to tread the same path. Prof Narendranath S, Dean (Students' Welfare) of National Institute of Technology Karnataka, said that the college has restricted entry to the terrace and discussions are underway regarding removal of ceiling fans. 

This comes following the death of an engineering student of NIT-K who died by suicide recently, allegedly over financial problems. There are several cases across various colleges. Concerned by such incidents, many colleges in Mangaluru have now increased vigilance to prevent student suicides within the campus. 

Dr Kurian, Principal of Alva's College, Moodbidri, said that students' rooms have enough of a vigilance system. He said, "Entry to the terrace has been blocked to the students. We have put up railings for all floors in the college as well as the hostel. Apart from this, we have a Students' Welfare Committee and a counselling centre. We have also appointed mentors for each group of 20 students and a warden for 50 to 70 students."

Experts suggest that the teaching faculty must be practically trained for identification of pathological depression and impulsive behavior of the students. Prof Hilda Rayappan, Founder and Director of Prajna Counseling Center, "Pathological suicide happens when a person has mental health problems like bipolar disorder and goes into depression. When teachers and parents identify change in behaviour, facial expression, body language and communication system, they must refer it to the counsellors or psychiatrists. Conducting awareness programmes and talks with the students will not help much."

Dr Lavina Noronha, Director of Susheg Charitable Trust, which has a helpline 0824-2983444 operating 24x7 service to receive distress calls from persons who are suffering from suicidal tendency, said that students are under a lot of stress these days and the college administration needs to understand this and respond appropriately. 

"Mental health needs to be prioritised and emotional and psychological needs of students have to be addressed by faculty and administrators. Due to the pandemic and the resultant economic crisis there's a lot of uncertainty about students' future. Students have to be strengthened psychologically with training in life skills, stress management, anger management, problem solving, decision making, effective communication and so on," Dr Lavina said. 

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