Teachers in Mithibai College in Vile Parle will arrive in college a little before lectures begin on Saturday. They are meeting to discuss how to help their students cope with pressures in the wake of the recent suicides.
So far, 17 people have committed suicide since the New Year. A majority of them are students. Colleges are now stepping in with precautionary measure apart from those already in place.
“We are thinking of either starting a 24-hour helpline for our students or tying up with an existing helpline where all student issues will be addressed not only academic issues,” said Kshama Shah, vice-principal of Mithibai.
In the same neighbourhood, NM College has already begun identifying students exhibiting signs of depression and are starting individual counselling.
“Students are more open to counselling. Several have even approached us saying that they having certain problem and need help,” said principal Sangeeta Kher.
Even the state government is looking into the matter and will be speaking to head of all its 13 universities in Maharashtra, JS Sahariya, principal secretary higher education.
At Birla College in Kalyan, heads of departments have already met and chalked out ways to approach the issue with students. They have proposed peer counselling because students are most comfortable with people of their own age group.
Students, too, feel that peer counselling is the best method.
“You can be the most open with your friends and they are the ones who know you best. If you feel that your friend might do something stupid, you should inform the right people,” said 19-year-old Ashish Kanoria