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Reopening Tamil Nadu schools, colleges to focus on students' mental health

Tamil Nadu to put the main focus on emotional and mental health as schools for higher classes and colleges reopening.

New Delhi Updated on: August 31, 2021 18:04 IST
Tamil Nadu
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Tamil Nadu to put the main focus on emotional and mental health as schools for higher classes and colleges reopening. 

With schools for higher classes and colleges reopening in Tamil Nadu from September 1, the main focus will be on the emotional and mental health of the students as also the teaching and non-teaching staff, say experts

Students have not attended physical classes for a long time, except for two months till the second wave of the pandemic struck earlier this year, leading to the shutting down of educational institutions.

The Tamil Nadu government have already directed the management of schools and colleges as well as teachers and student counsellors to focus mainly on the mental and emotional health of students.

The School Education Department has directed the management to engage the help of acclaimed professional counsellors to look after the mental well-being of students. An online study and survey conducted by the department have found that students were battling emotional disorders including anxiety and depression. Some students were facing panic attacks and displayed aggressive behaviour.

Dr Sujatha Muthuswamy, a child psychologist from the National Institute of Mental Health, Bengaluru and presently working at a private hospital in Madurai, told IANS that "school managements must first concentrate on the mental well-being of children. Several students were brought to me by their parents after showing erratic behaviour and I could find that some of them were facing panic attacks and some were facing depression and others anxiety for no reason at all. So concentrating on the mental health of children is more important rather than stressing them to do well in exams."

Many students, according to counsellors, are panicking about going back to school and many who turn into adults are facing both the physical and emotional changes of their adolescence.

Talking to IANS, J Alageshwari, Student Counsellor at Srinikethan group of schools, said: "We know that students will take some time to settle down on campus and we have already started off with sensitising teachers to give time for the students to do so and to ensure that they are into the school routine."

Several private schools had mechanisms to reach out to students and parents online. Schools have been directed to conduct regular counselling for teachers and students who report mental health issues including anxiety and depression.

The school management has also arranged professional mental health counsellors to support the students and teachers if they show anxiety, depression, or aggressive behaviour.

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