The Telegraph
Saturday , November 12 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
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Teachers bat for troubled teens
Feeling low? Relax at school

The rising tally of teen suicides in Ranchi has forced one of the city’s premier schools to sit up and take notice of adolescent mood swings.

The issue of depression among adolescents has led Ranchi-based Delhi Public School (DPS) at SAIL Township, with 5,000 students, to establish a first-of-its-kind room on school campus for teens exhibiting signs of depression, anxiety, anger, sadness, loneliness and guilt.

The special room meant for students of Classes IX to XII — more prone to depression owing to peer pressure and academics — will be equipped with two beds, a study table, newspapers, journals and magazines. A special teacher and an office employee will man the room, which is expected to be ready by January 2012.

“If a teacher notices that a student is unable to concentrate on studies or shows symptoms of stress, he or she will take the youngster to the counselling room to release pent-up tension. The teenager can leaf through journals and newspapers and relax,” said principal J. Mohanty.

Mohanty added the teacher in charge of the counselling room would speak to the child about his/her problem in confidence.

“If required, we will also hold discussions with parents of that particular child to know about his background. We will also take troubled teens into confidence and continuously monitor them,” Mohanty said.

He added they might also invite psychologists to speak to bottled-up children unable to share problems with friends, teachers and parents.

The principal said the main reason to start such an innovative counselling session was to provide individual attention to each child. “We are aiming to make the students realise how precious their lives are.”

But Mohanty also stressed that parents also needed to be counselled, as home environment mattered a lot where emotional health is concerned.

“The process to bring a child out of depression is a long one. Teachers also need to play a vital role in building confidence among the students,” the educator said, adding a close bond between teachers and students was the need of the hour.

“Students can even talk to teachers on phone about their problems after school hours” the principal said, adding that the practice, prevalent in the UK and the US, helped bring down teen suicides.

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