News : Helpline Staff to the Rescue of Students
Chennai, India, Feb 17, 2015 -- Exam season is around the corner — the most stressful time of the year for students and parents alike.
To help deal with the inevitable panic, the health helpline ‘104’ is launching a programme under which students who call in will be counselled, guided through their issues and given tips on how to perform better.
"We get a lot of students and parents calling us around this time of the year, worried about how they are going to perform in their exams. Added to this are a number of calls from students with suicidal tendencies. To help counsel them, we have prepared a list of tips and dos and don’ts for the exam season which we can tell our callers to follow. We are rolling it out this week," said B. Prabhudoss, head, marketing and hospital relations, GVK EMRI.
On Wednesday, the helpline, which provides information on health issues, received about 650 calls from students and parents worried about the exams, said T. Rajaram, team leader of the helpline.
Two counsellors will be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. as the maximum numbers of calls are received during this period and at least one counsellor will be available 24x7, Mr. Rajaram said. A psychiatrist from a government facility comes in twice a week to train counsellors, he said.
"Most students who call in tell us that they have forgotten what they have studied or that they are constantly sleepy. They want to know how to improve and what to eat to stay healthy. We first listen to them, to figure out what the issue is. Then, we counsel them and give them tips on nutrition, adequate sleep and also tell them that each of them is talented in a unique way," said B. Elayaraja, a counsellor at the helpline.
About 60 per cent of the calls are from boys, Mr. Elayaraja said, and among parents, the majority of calls were from fathers. Students or others who call in with suicidal tendencies are counselled extensively, Mr. Prabhudoss said.
"In cases when we feel they need further help, we put them on to Sneha, the suicide prevention centre," he said.
The helpline, which also gives callers details about the nearest place to avail of healthcare, and takes in complaints and suggestions with regard to health facilities, receives around 2,500 calls a day, Mr. Prabhudoss said.
The helpline is an initiative of Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project and is run by GVK EMRI.
Students in need of help or guidance can call ‘104’ at any time of the day or night.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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