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Mental health: DU students take to sports, art to cope with stress

Delhi University students say that rescinded job offers and uncertainty of final examination, due to Covid-19 pandemic, is making them immensely stressed.

coronavirus-crisis Updated: Jul 16, 2020, 02:13 IST
Aprajita Sharad
Aprajita Sharad
Hindustan Times
The impending decision on exams, lesser number of employment offers and other such challenges are leading to depressing thoughts among DU students.
The impending decision on exams, lesser number of employment offers and other such challenges are leading to depressing thoughts among DU students. (Photo: Shutterstock (For representation purpose only))

From cancelled college fests and farewell parties to rescinded job offers and the unknown eventuality of final examination, Delhi University students have faced many a challenges due to Covid-19 pandemic. This has lead to a heightened feeling of uncertainty, anxiety and helplessness among many students. “Things around campus have been very messed up. There is so much debate around the online Open Book Exam. Job offers are not on the table. Our whole future is at stake! There’s a prevalent feeling of hopelessness since the online-offline exam debate has begun, and it just doesn’t seem to end,” says Manish Dhawan, a student of Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College.

“There’s this constant fear I have for my family. I’m unable to be with them, and I don’t know how they are coping. Likewise, my parents are worried that I’m living in Delhi...” – Sanjay Kataria, DU student

Students who are still in hostels, miles away from their families, are experiencing loneliness and feeling stressed out due to recent developments on campus. “There’s this constant fear I have for my family that gives me jitters. I’m unable to be with them at this time, and I don’t know how they are coping. Likewise, my parents are worried that I’m living in Delhi, where the number of cases is increasing rapidly,” says Sanjay Kataria, a student of Department of Library and Information Science, DU.

To battle against such stressors, some students have resorted to sports whereas certain others are trying different therapies that can help them stay calm. Kataria says, “I play badminton with my hostel mates to distract myself from all depressing news around me. Physical activity leads to release of endorphins and acts as a great benefactor in such times.”

On the official website of DU, there’s a list of e-mails and contact numbers of teachers, who are volunteering to provide free online counselling to students who are grappling with the situation. However, students claim that these aren’t of real help. “Some numbers don’t work. I have dialled them, and many a times the calls went unanswered. When somebody did pick up the phone at the other end, they asked me to write a mail to them first. Besides, three email addresses and seven enlisted numbers can’t address the mental health problems of around ten thousand students on campus,” says Utkarsh Singh from Satyawati College, adding, “We were added to a WhatsApp group with a teacher who was supposed to be a mental health counsellor. Once a week, the teacher used to send generic messages regarding staying stress free and then remained unavailable for the rest of the time. How does it help if the volunteer isn’t available when needed!”

“I even teach my friends, who are differently abled, how to use art therapy to vent out our angst creatively. In those few hours that we spend painting, I forget about the mounting stress in my life... Art is a form of meditation.” – Akshat Rawal, DU student

Akshat Rawal, a student of College Of Vocational Studies, shares that some differently abled students, including him, have taken up art therapy to deal with the mental stress they are experiences. Rawal adds, “Life is certainly more challenging for the differently abled students. We are facing a lot of problems in this pandemic year, and to cope with this anxiety, we have been connecting with each other over video calls. I even teach my friends, who are differently abled, how to use art therapy, to vent out our angst creatively. In those few hours that we spend painting, I forget about the mounting stress in my life... Art is a form of meditation through which one can counter mental stress caused by academic pressures.”

If you need support or know someone who does, please reach out to your nearest mental health specialist. Call helplines: Aasra: 022 2754 6669; Sneha India Foundation: +914424640050 and Sanjivini: 011-24311918

Author tweets @FizzyBuddha

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