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KK Shailaja

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Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja on Thursday launched a project to provide counselling to students to reduce their stress and anxiety levels in the backdrop of COVID-19.The project has been launched by the state Health Department along with the Education Department and the Women and Child Department.“The project is being launched as there were reports of student committing suicide and exam results are being awaited,”said the Minister,during a press conference.

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“Studies have revealed alarming data regarding the suicide of students across the country.To prevent depression,behavioural problems,stress etc.we are launching this initiative for students.The education department will also partner in this project,”the Minister said.

She said that the state has already counselled over 5 lakh people at homes in and in isolation wards through phones.The project will be implemented on three levels –Anganwadi and Asha Workers,school counsellors,online and phone counsellors.“First,Anganwadi and Asha workers will be given the checklist for fieldwork to counsel in-person.Second,we will be using the service of existing school counsellors who are well-aware of the students in a particular school and third,we will be using the help of online and phone counsellors.”A helpline number‘1056-Disha Number’is provided.Both parents and students can call on this number for counselling.

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A high-level committee would collect data regarding student suicides and would chalk out plans to prevent it.“It is a serious issues that needs attention.Suicide prevention will be given priority in the state particularly in the backdrop of COVID-19,”the Minister said.