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News : New Helpline for Kota Students
Jaipur, India, Feb 10, 2016 -- The 24-hour GPS-enabled helpline number for students enrolled at coaching institutes will begin functioning from Wednesday. This is an initiative of the Kota district administration, to relieve the stress of students. The helpline numbers are 0744-2333666 and 0744-2414141. The GPS facility is restricted to the district, but the helpline service will remain available for students across the country.
The helpline has been set up after 21 students, enrolled at coaching institutes in the district for the IIT entrance examination and the All India Pre-Medical Examinations, committed suicide in the past 14 months. It will be run by city-based clinical psychologist Dr M L Agarwal, and will function from within his clinic, under the registered society 'Hope', set up by then district collector T Ravikant in 2010.
The helpline will offer round-the-clock assistance to students through trained and experienced clinical psychologists hired for the purpose. The call centre will have two trained counsellors working in three shifts of eight hours each.
The centre has prepared a detailed manual with 60 questions frequently asked by students in distress. The counsellors have been put through intense mock-call sessions to learn the art of patient listening.
"Counsellors have been trained to identify the degree of stress by asking the first three questions. Once an assessment of the level of stress is made, students will be given treatment," Agrawal said, adding that the highlight of the programme was that the GPS device would aid in tracking the students calling in.
"Our team is trained to sniff out suicidal tendencies by end of the 15th question. In case the student shows signs of suicide, our team will rush to track the student and bring him or her to the clinic for further treatment," said Agrawal. Counsellors will then monitor the progress of students over the next six months.
District collector of Kota, Ravi Kumar, said the role of the district administration is one of a facilitator. "We will monitor the flow of funds, but will not help financially. Anyone willing to donate can contribute towards the running of this helpline," Kumar said. The district administration will monitor the helpline, including calls. It will also keep track of the manner in which students are helped. The collector has also instructed coaching institutes to widely publicize the helpline numbers.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, February 11, 2016