Pune-based girls only college St Mira’s College (estd. 1962) is offering an online mental well-being platform accessible to its 4000 students to deal with mental stress resulting from the current quarantine and social distancing enforced by the state government as preventive measures in lieu of the global corona pandemic. An online form shared with all the students to know their mental health needs and readiness for online support groups/sessions had 438 students asking for online support.
Three important measures included in the program are sharing relevant preventive mental health care measures catering to the college’s student population’s needs and concerns, conducting online support group sessions of 90 minutes each for the students who ask for support and reaching out to potentially high risk students who could indulge in self-harm etc. through Skype sessions or through calls by the college’s counselor. Students can reach out to the college counsellors directly using email or call.
“In times like these, mental health can be easily neglected and unseen. It is possible to sometimes loose ourselves in news, constant anxiety and fear but we need to remind ourselves that everyone has the ability to survive and fight. This program is here to build emotionally resilient student community. We really feel very deeply about the psychological impact of social distancing…and are doing our bit. Also the uncertainty about exams is also very stressful for the student community. Students from all streams and batches have reached out for support. Making decisions on whether to study or not is always stressful for students. They have been really confused. A lot of them also come from emotionally unhealthy families so it becomes very difficult to maintain boundaries for them. Especially for students who come from dysfunctional families staying under the same roof 24X7 can drive them to an emotional edge. We have worked on a list of those students who are at higher risk (Abuse and suicide) we are reaching out to them personally,” says Dr Gulshan Gidwani, principal, St Mira’s College.
Affiliated to the University of Pune, St Mira’s offers undergraduate as well as post graduate programmes in the arts and commerce streams and is hoping the university promotes students on the basis of year’s work and internal assessments.
Launched on March 22, the online support programme is an extension of the college’s ongoing mental health programme introduced last year. Responding to the huge number of students reaching out to the mental health programme as a support group to deal with challenges and personal distresses, the college now has three counsellors on its campus.
The college being shut down since the March 17 as Pune saw a rise in the number of persons infected with Coronavirus. With close to 200 patients, Maharashtra is one of the worst-hit Covid-19 affected states in the country.Campus