With colleges and schools closed since march, life has come to a standstill for almost everyone. But, instead to shutting down everything, the students at St. Mira’s college for girls has taken the lead and has been doing everything in its power to support each other as much as possible. The students of the psychology department reached out to the faculty for creating online platforms to support the other students to deal with their mental health. This initiative is an extension of their ongoing college Mental Well-being Program. It is an online platform where students can share their needs, challenges and personal distresses associated with preventive measures like quarantine and social distancing.
The college made the “Mental Well-being program” open to other degree students all over India which was coordinated by Ms. Pooja Jain of the Psychology dept. Around 310 students signed up for these sessions from various colleges across the country including students from Trivandrum, Visakhapatnam, Ghaziabad, Patna and various cities and towns of Maharashtra. First session was conducted on 25th April, 2020 which focused on practical skills and ways to manage Anxiety. Second session dated on 27th April, 2020 focused on building healthy Social Connections with peers and family members.
3-Tier Program Conducted By The College For Their Students
Mental Wellbeing program: St Mira’s College for Girls initiated a Mental Wellbeing program for their students dealing with all kinds of peer pressure, emotional abuse and so on. The major objective of this program was Prevention and Intervention. A survey was conducted to explore the concerns of mental well being and existing beliefs where 763 students volunteered for the online survey. They carry out individual counselling, therapy topics raised in awareness sessions and the awareness sessions.
Mental Wellbeing program provides counsellor on call every day of the academic year in the campus, two part time counsellors two days every week for the individual counselling services, student centric as well as staff centric program, open ended program so emerging issues can be addressed as per the immediate needs, contextual framework and ecological framework
Quote by Dr. Gulshan Gidwani on why the “Mental well-being program” was made open to students all over India.
Pandemics are far from being just medical phenomena. They disrupt personal and professional lives severely and affect people and societies on several levels. Students already go through so many mental health concerns and stressors which go unrecognized. Mental well-being of our students has always been our utmost priority. We started sensing that students are feeling anxious, depressed and lonely due to the preventive measures like lockdown and social distancing. Time was running out and we had to come up with a virtual mental health platform exclusively for our students. This initiative was an extension of our ongoing college mental well-being program. It is an online platform where students can share their needs, challenges and personal distresses associated with preventive measures like quarantine and social distancing. An online form was generated and shared with all the students screening their mental health needs and readiness for online support groups/sessions. We have been since then providing online support group sessions and students can also reach out to the college counsellor. More than 500 students participated and benefited from these virtual sessions.
That is when we felt that we should extend this helpline to students of other colleges as well…and so we started a Facebook group for people across all colleges and age groups to reach out to us.
We also keep sharing information about active psychosocial and government helplines to ensure availability of timely help in the form counselling services.
Quote by Dr.Gulshan Gidwani on why such a program was initiated?
In times like these, prevention and promotion of mental health is the key. Many times, students who need professional mental health support may not access it due to heavy charges and consultation fees. A healthy college is where students feel empowered to take control of their daily routine, feel involved and are able to work towards personal wellbeing and growth. We see our students as active participants of the society and encourage mental health care help seeking and provide high quality mental health care.