In the wake of a recent incident where an 18-year-old Bharati College student ended her life by consuming pesticide, the attention of Students’ Union groups has shifted towards wellness care. Mahamedhaa Nagar, the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) secretary, in a letter to Yogesh Tyagi, the DU Vice-Cancellor, has demanded that he set up ‘wellness cells’ in the various colleges under the varsity. However, according to an Indian Express report, Delhi University’s counselling facility that is known as the Mind and Body Centre, has just one counsellor for over 1.3 lakh students. Moreover, this counselling facility is available only to women students.
Nagar wrote in his letter: “Students are unable to manage stress. They don’t have a place to vent their thoughts… Many battle an identity crisis. Uncertain about their future, they begin to isolate themselves and eventually slip into depression… Therefore, DUSU proposes that DU immediately take reforms and introduce a new cell/society in all DU colleges… There should be a proper check initiated on the availability of professional counsellors in DU colleges…”
Back in 2015, the University introduced a helpline number (1800-3000-7303) in order to help people with their holistic care and also to help them cope with stress, but as per the report, the helpline is now inactive.
Further the report states that inhouse counselling is offered by certain colleges under the varsity including- Miranda House, Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Jesus and Mary College, Shri Ram College of Commerce and Hansraj College. But Mind and Body Centre is the only wellness centre that is currently being managed by the university administration and it provides holistic care for students’ emotional and mental health needs.
Tanni Choudhary, a mental health counsellor, said, “Students are trying to come forward despite the taboo, but there is a pressing need for us, as an association, to go out and make students and faculty aware about the resources available. Despite these services, approximately five students of the university commit suicide every year due to various reasons, ranging from rejection in love to poor academic performance, anxiety and family issues. We do around 30 consultations every month.”