Counselling or Psychotherapy is not considered as an option in Indian society. Often it is tagged as a service for mad people. The stigma does not allow vulnerable people to seek help when they need it. Adolescence and childhood is a developmental stage for ever individual. In order to ensure that a mentally and physically healthy adult is grown out of any child, it is order to pay attention to their mental growth and attitude during his growth years.
Understanding psychology of a younger individual is complex. The myriad of feelings, emotions and societal and peer pressure they go through often develops some negative feelings such as fear, stress, jealousy or losing trust from people. For some youngsters, this has caused several health problems including heart diseases or blood pressure. For some others it has caused other mental problems which do not allow them to be completely productive. And there are some extreme cases in which the individual is so disheartened that they end up killing themselves or someone else.
With the advent of nuclear families and working parents, the children are under tremendous pressure to meet the high expectations. The teacher’s in the school are racing away to meet the unreasonable deadlines of finishing the syllabus and hence have no time to deal with psychological issues of children. The students do not find anyone they can trust who would listen to them, help them analyse their behaviour objectively and comfort them by providing a solution to handle the complex feelings they experience. This is where the counsellors will play a major role and avert the crisis.
The CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) has made it mandatary to have a counselling service in every school. Despite this, even in supposedly the most developed region of the country, NCR, a meagre 3 per cent of schools have counsellors. The schools charge hefty fees and yet don’t abide by the law. The plight of schools in other regions of the country is bound to be worse.
There are less than 5,000 psychiatrists and less than 2,000 clinical psychologists in the country. This shortage in mental health professionals needs to be addressed soon as India has a very young population.
Children are more prone and vulnerable to emotional, physical and sexual abuse during their teens. According to ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research), more than 10% of students in the Indian educational system are suffering from some or the other mental health problems. A system wherein a counsellor is mandatory will ensure that these problems are detected early and don’t graduate to become a full blown crisis. We need efficient and trained counsellors, and special educators who can effectively deal with the problems of the children so that they are not pushed towards taking the extreme step.
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The CSR Journal Team