Counselling, Fee Waiver: Colleges Offer Help to Students in Distress | Kolkata News

Calcutta: Fearing that the Covid wave has led to a mental health crisis among students struggling with a prolonged period of online learning, isolation and financial hardship, several colleges and universities have decided to prioritize mental health. They take steps to care for students in distress and alleviate the crisis through professional help.
Some are holding group counseling for their students while others – such as Scottish Church College – have waived semester fees for those who have lost one or both parents to the pandemic. In some colleges, principals speak directly to students who show signs of distress, while in others special cells have been set up to deal with the problem. Lady Brabourne College and Bethune College have opened counseling cells for their students.
Remote learning, loss of peer interactions, social isolation and less interaction with other supportive adults like teachers lead to anxiety and depression, say teachers and counselors in students. At St Xavier’s College, fathers and professional counselors reach out to students who ask them for help.
“Many students write to us and call the helplines. Fathers and professional counselors listen to them patiently and solve their problems,” said Father Dominic Savio, Principal of St Xavier’s College.
Last week, IIT-Kharagpur held a three-day online counseling session for students. “The pandemic has created uncertainty for everyone, which has led to anxiety and depression among people. We want to reach out to our students in these testing times and help them,” said Tamal Nath, Registrar of IIT-Kharagpur.
“I was so depressed when I heard about the closing on January 2 this year. I haven’t been to campus once. I don’t know what college is like, I’ve never organized welcome party and I never interacted with my classmates. If the colleges reopen after a few weeks, I will be in third year,” said Diksha Bhattacharya, a student.

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