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UGC Prepares Draft Guidelines To Help Students Deal With Mental Health Issues

The guidelines have discouraged punitive measures and said special care will be provided to LGBT students.

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Education
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The University Grants Commission (UGC) announced on Wednesday, 4 May, that it is drafting guidelines to ensure good mental health amongst students by the creation of cells and mental health professionals to handle academic stress, depression, anxiety, and so on.

The UGC Chairman took to Twitter to inform that dedicated cells will be set up at universities and colleges with counsellors to help guide students.

Isolated records will be maintained of students that appear to be "more vulnerable and stress-prone”, wrote the former JNU Vice Chancellor and current UGC Chairman Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar.

“This way, the dropout rate can also be checked. Subsequent interventions can be designed accordingly,” as per guidelines issued, titled Promotion of Physical Fitness, Sports, Students’ Health, Welfare, Psychological and Emotional Well Being.
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The guidelines have also discouraged punitive measures and advised to take help of trained psychologists to handle "deviant behaviours" instead, according to a report by The Indian Express.

Supporting Students' Mental Well-Being

A supportive students' network has been encouraged to strengthen the overall mental well-being, Kumar added.

"The main objective of the guidelines is to promote physical fitness and sports activities among students, inculcate a positive attitude and develop a supportive network of students. These are essential to strengthen the mental well-being of students to safeguard themselves against different kinds of stress, pressure and behaviour issues they face."
UGC Chairperson M Jagadesh Kumar stated.

As per The Indian Express, the guidelines also focussed on inculcating respect for religious, linguistic, cultural and social diversity, thus, encouraging counsellors with varied linguistic skills to guide students.

"Special care may be taken for LGBT students,” they added.

“Every higher educational institution shall have a Students Services Centre (SSC) responsible for dealing with and managing the problems related to stress and emotional adjustment. It shall have the standardised, systematic arrangements within the relevant provision of ordinances to provide requisite support to students especially from rural backgrounds, female students, students from divergent cultural backgrounds, and students with special needs,” the guidelines further said.

(With inputs from The Indian Express.)

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