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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Pros & Cons of Studying at Career Point University, Kota

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pros & Cons of Studying at Career Point University, Kota

Career Point University's main campus is at Kota, Rajasthan, and this relatively young private university is promoted by the promoters of Career Point, one of the pioneers of Kota's entrance coaching business. With only weeks left for admission season to commence in India, Seasonal Magazine takes a look at how Career Point University fares in admissions for academic year 2016-17. 

Ex-IITian Pramod Maheshwari, who founded Career Point serves as the Chancellor of Career Point University (CPU), while noted educationalist Dr. Mithilesh Dixit serves as CPU's Vice-Chancellor.

CPU's home city of Kota in Rajasthan is most known for recording the highest temperature in the state at 41.5 degrees recently, and for recording the highest number of student suicides during the past year, due to the intense and inhuman competition among the entrance coaching institutes in this city.
While police records put teenage suicides in Kota during the past year at 24, unofficial tallies speak about 56 or more youngsters ending their lives in this remote tier-2 city, around 250 kms from Rajasthan’s capital Jaipur.

Once famous for its engineering and medical entrance coaching centres, today the city is infamous for student suicides due to the reckless pressure exerted by these coaching centres on the IIT and All India Medical aspirants.

Starting out in the 90s with just a couple of institutes, this laidback city has spawned over 300 institutes during the past two and a half decades on the lure of minting big time money on coaching lakhs of students from all over India with no respect for their aptitude for entering IITs or Medical Colleges.

However, the bulk or cream of the coaching business is cornered by the so-called Big-5 in the industry - Allen, Bansal, Career Point, Resonance, and Vibrant – which charge higher fee for better success rates. And there are no refunds in this business for those who drop out, unable to withstand the pressure.

While Career Point founded by ex-IITian Pramod Maheshwari, and Bansal were the pioneers in this unique business of Kota, more successful players like Allen have surpassed them in recent years.

Intense competition among all these big as well as smaller players has ensured that students are often put through grueling regimens lasting 18 hours a day or more.

While only the suicides in Kota grab the headlines, thousands of teenagers studying in Kota experience mental breakdowns and require months of treatment at psychiatrists and counseling centres to recover.

Due to the tiny number of seats in IITs and leading Government Medical Colleges, compared with the huge number of aspirants studying in Kota alone, many students – between 40-45% - end up repeating the coaching classes, bringing in repeat business for these institutes.

With billboards celebrating the success of each institute’s students adorning many vantage points in Kota, success in entrance becomes the only measure of success for both the institutes and students, and many institutes are known to shame and humiliate underperforming students, driving them to suicides or nervous breakdowns.

After last year’s student suicides in Kota broke all records, the Kota District Collector took some action, and forced these institutes to conduct a screening test. However, most institutes have turned it into a mockery with a policy that even those who fail in the test would be offered coaching.

When a promoter and an organization from this kind of coaching industry starts a private university, there are bound to be raised eyebrows.

But Pramod Maheshwari who also serves as Chancellor of Career Point University (CPU) has so far tried to steer clear of such controversies by keeping the University a separate entity, and by not allowing the coaching culture to seep in here.

However, when one takes a walkthrough in CPU’s brochures and publicity materials, one can’t help but feel some elements of the coaching culture. For instance, the university stresses on middle-school like values viz. "determining one to one contact" and "relentlessly monitors progress of every student".

Many private universities in Rajasthan are financially bleeding due to inadequate admissions. Career Point University, according to information published in its website, has implemented some unique policies - may be to fight this challenge - like early admission benefit, repetition of entrance test, and a special provision to apply for the entrance test even just two days in advance.

And unlike many of its peers, it accommodates engineering diploma holders in its BTech programs in a big way.

Career Point University offers courses in domains like engineering, management, law, agriculture etc. According to information published in its website, among its 70 faculty members, only 7 have doctorate level degrees. CPU is not accredited by NAAC.

Being a young university, CPU is only gradually coming up in the placements scene. While CPU claims to have achieved 79% placements in the past academic session, the quality of recruiters and quality of pay leave much to be desired.

As per the information published in CPU website, while many of India’s largest recruiters like TCS, Infosys, Cognizant, Accenture, IBM etc are missing, the list is dominated by second-rung or lower-rung companies, and many graduates and postgraduates have been recruited at very low CTCs ranging from Rs. 1.2 Lakhs Per Annum to Rs. 2.4 LPA.

Career Point University may come up gradually due to the education and experience of its Chancellor Pramod Maheshwari and Vice Chancellor Dr. Mithilesh Dixit, but for now, the university may appeal more to students native to Kota.

Monday, April 18, 2016

16-year-old IIT-JEE aspirant ends life in Kota, no suicide note found - Hindustan Times

16-year-old IIT-JEE aspirant ends life in Kota, no suicide note found

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Kota
  •  |  
  • Updated: Apr 17, 2016 18:04 IST
Kota, a premier coaching hub in Rajasthan, gained notoriety after a number of students committed suicide over the years due to alleged academic pressure. (Photo for representational purposes only)

An IIT-JEE aspirant committed suicide by slitting her veins in Kota on Sunday morning. The motive behind the action was not known because the girl, who had enrolled in a coaching institute here a few days ago, did not leave behind a suicide note.
Identifying the girl as 16-year-old Vaishnavi, daughter of one Gopal Tiberwal from Munger district in Bihar, police said she committed suicide in the bathroom of her hostel at New Rajiv Gandhi Nagar. Jawahar Nagar circle inspector Harish Bharti said police was informed about the incident around 2 am on Sunday morning.
“The student slit both her wrists, besides a vein in her neck, using a knife that is now in our possession,” Bharti said, adding that Vaishnavi was sharing her room with a cousin, Prachi. He said the girl committed suicide while Prachi — also a student — was asleep.
Kota, a coaching hub in Rajasthan, gained notoriety after a number of students committed suicide over the years due to alleged academic pressure. Police, however, said there have not been many cases of students slitting their wrists in the city; most commit suicide by hanging themselves.
Bharti said Vaishnavi, a Class 11 student preparing for the IIT-JEE examinations, had enrolled herself in the coaching institute on April 4. Attempts to get some information from the cousin and the deceased girl’s local guardian had gone in vain because they were both in a state of shock, he added.
The girl’s parents have been informed, and a post-mortem examination of the body will be conducted after their arrival at Kota.
This is the fourth student suicide to have occurred in Kota this year until now. The last such incident had occurred in the first week of March, when a 19-year-old student — Arvind Kushwaha — hanged himself in his rented room.
As many as 20 coaching students committed suicide in Kota last year. Hope Society, an NGO, runs a round-the-clock helpline that offers counselling and sustained assistance to suicidal students.
In December, the Kota district administration formulated several de-stressing measures — including the strict imposition of a weekly holiday, easy fees refund and joint parent-student counselling — in order to prevent students from taking the extreme step.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Why are India's housewives killing themselves?

Why are India's housewives killing themselves?

Soutik BiswasDelhi correspondent
  • 12 April 2016
  • From the section India

Image captionThere are very few studies on why Indian homemakers have been killing themselves

More than 20,000 housewives took their lives in India in 2014.
This was the year when 5,650 farmers killed themselves in the country. 
So the number of suicides by housewives was over 250% more than the farmers. They also comprised 47% of the total female victims.
Yet the high number of homemakers killing themselves doesn't make front page news in the way farmer suicides do, year after year.
In fact, more than 20,000 housewives have been killing themselves in India every year since 1997, the earliest year for which we have information compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau based on occupation of the victim. In 2009, the grim statistic peaked at 25,092 deaths.
Forget raw numbers. 
The rate of housewives taking their lives - more than 11 per 100,000 people - has been consistently higher than India's overall suicide rate since 1997. It dropped to 9.3 in 2014, yet suicide rate for housewives was more than twice those for farmers that year.

Little attention
Suicide rates of housewives vary from state to state. 
In 2011, for example, their rates - more than 20 per 100,000 people - were higher in states like Maharashtra, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, West Bengal and Gujarat. Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar showed lower suicide rates.
Peter Mayer, who teaches politics at the University of Adelaide and has spent much time studying the sociology of suicide in India, wonders why suicide rates of housewives in India is so high, and why it gets so little attention in the media.
After all, as Mr Mayer says, research in western societies suggests that "marriage confers protection from suicide to married women". 
Therefore, married people are less likely to kill themselves - studies have found suicide rates for married people in the US and Australia, for example, are lower than others in the same age group.
India, clearly, is an outlier. 
Nearly 70% of people who took their lives in 2001, for example, were married - 70.6% of the men and 67% of the women.
Image copyrightAFP

Image captionSuicides of women do not get much coverage in the media
A study published in the medical journal The Lancet in 2012 found that the suicide rate in Indian women aged 15 years or older is more than two and a half times greater than it is in women of the same age in high-income countries, and nearly as high as in China. 
Married women are part of the cohort. Mr Mayer, author of Suicide and Society in India, and co-researcher Della Steen, found that the "risk of suicide is, on the whole, highest in what are probably the first or second decades of marriage, that is, for those aged between 30 and 45".
"We found that female literacy, the level of exposure to the media and smaller family size, all perhaps indicators of female empowerment, were correlated with higher suicide rates for women in these age groups."
Also, the researchers say that suicide rates among housewives are lowest in the most "traditional" states, where family sizes are big and extended families are common. Rates are higher in states where households are closer to nuclear families - Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. (Dowry-related deaths are treated as murders.)

'Changing expectations'
Mr Mayer told me that he believed the high rate of housewife suicides was linked to the "nature of the social transformation in the nature of the family, which is occurring in India".
"I suggest that a central explanatory factor is the importance of changing expectations concerning social roles, especially in marriage," he says.
There are conflicts with spouses and parents, and "relations between poorly educated mothers-in-law and better-educated, insubordinate daughters-in-law" are a source of tension. 
An educated daughter-in-law was more likely to "forge a strong alliance with her husband and persuade him to break off from his parents and set up a nuclear family on their own", according to one study by Joanne Moller.
Dr Vikram Patel, a leading Goa-based psychiatrist and professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who co-authored the Lancet study, tells me that the high rate of housewife suicides in India can be attributed to a double whammy of "gender and discrimination".
"Many women face arranged marriages by force. They have dreams and aspirations, but they often do not get supportive spouses. Sometimes their parents don't support them either. They are trapped in a difficult system and social milieu," he says.

Image copyrightAFP

"The resulting lack of romantic, trusting and affectionate relationship with your spouse can lead to such tragedies."
Making things worse is the lack of counsellors and medical facilities for patients of depression. Then there's the social stigma associated with "mental illness". 
Next big question: why does the media ignore the rising rate of suicides among married women, when, say, farmer suicides, rightly, gets a lot of attention?

'Harassment for dowry'
Mr Mayer says on the "relatively rare occasion when the Indian media do cover the suicides of married women it is almost always framed in terms of mistreatment by in-laws and harassment for dowry". That is clearly only a part of the story.
Kalpana Sharma, a researcher and journalist, says the lack of coverage has to largely do with the "invisibility of gender" in the Indian media. 
"This, in some ways, is worse than misogyny. There is a lack of engagement with issues relating to women, and the media is not even aware of the problem," she says. 
The story of India's "desperate housewives", as Mr Mayer describes them, needs to be urgently researched and told. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Jaipur: 17-year-old IIT aspirant hangs self TNN | Apr 7, 2016, 02.14 AM IST

Jaipur: 17-year-old IIT aspirant hangs self

TNN | Apr 7, 2016, 02.14 AM IST

In the suicide note, he sought apology from his parents and stated that he failed in his previous six attempts, but he would be successful this time. The police are verifying whether he was referring to attempts to commit suicide in the past or his failure to crack IIT entrance exams.

The student, Hanuman Sharma, was a resident of Kumher in Bharatpur. "He was staying at a rented accommodation in Rakadi area in Sodala and preparing for IIT entrance examinations. His cousins stay at a rented accommodation in the neighbourhood. When they didn't hear from him for 24 hours, one of them went to his room on Tuesday afternoon. The landlord told him that Hanuman hadn't come out of his room since Monday night," said a police officer.

On receiving no response from the room, they broke open the door and found Hanuman hanging. They informed the police.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Pratyusha Banerjee's Suicide: Rakhi Sawant Has Called For A Ban On Ceiling Fans

HuffPost India  |  By Suprateek Chatterjee

Posted: 05/04/2016 17:25 IST Updated: 32 minutes ago

Rakhi Sawant has taken the media and celebrity circus that we have all been witness to following Balika Vadhu actress Pratyusha Banerjee's tragic alleged suicide to a whole new level.
In a bizarre press conference held at a banquet hall in Mumbai's Oshiwara area, Sawant made two claims: one, that she was in possession of a video that would reveal that Banerjee's death wasn't a suicide, and two, that ceiling fans were indirectly responsible for the lives of thousands of young, fragile women across the country. "If a father and mother love their daughter, they should get rid of ceiling fans," said Sawant, dressed in a black velvet top, with a flex banner behind her that read 'Lautkar aa jao Pratyusha (come back, Pratyusha)'. "Use AC, use table fans," she added, brandishing a small white ceiling fan that she had brought along to the presser for added impact.
On being asked how the poor would cope with the heat, she said, "Table fans are not expensive. We are planning to go to slums and donate 5,000 fans to the poor ourselves. At least we're doing this. What are others doing for the country? What is the government doing?"

However, it must be said that Sawant's idea of getting rid of ceiling fans to prevent suicides, as crazy as it may sound, isn't new.

A number of journalists present there, including this writer, could barely resist from smirking. One reporter asked, "20 years ago, [actress] Divya Bharti had committed suicide by jumping off a building. Should we also ban buildings?"
Sawant replied: "Please don't make fun of this issue. Now if Smriti Irani said this, you would applaud her. Why? Because she's the education minister, that's why?"
At this point, a few irate journalists asked her to share details of the supposedly explosive video she had, which she claims was sent by Banerjee's producer boyfriend Rahul Raj Singh's ex-wife Saloni Sharma. "We have proof that it was not a suicide, but we've been told that we have to give it to the Crime Branch first," she said. "Some people from the Crime Branch were supposed to attend this press conference, but they backed out at the last minute."

However, it must be said that Sawant's idea of getting rid of ceiling fans to prevent suicides, as crazy as it may sound, isn't new. In 2010, a four-member team probing the suicide of a student at IIT Kanpur, one of India's premier engineering colleges, had recommended that the ceiling fans be replaced by pedestal fans.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Academic pressure pushes teens to suicide, say doctors - The Hindu

VISAKHAPATNAM, March 28, 2016


About two weeks ago, a tenth standard student in Visakhapatnam city committed suicide, unable to bear the academic pressure. Suicides among students, especially during the examination season from March to May, has been on the rise, and according to the City Crime Record Bureau (CCRB- Visakhapatnam) the total number of suicides during the last five years stands at 22, and of which 13 have ended lives due to the academic pressure.

As per Assistant Commissioner of Police (CCRB), Annepu Narasimha Murthy, the age group varies between 14 and 19 years. “They are either tenth class or intermediate students. During this particular academic phase, the pressure from schools or corporate junior colleges, peer groups and parents are at the highest level,” said the ACP.

Sharing statistics over the last four years, the ACP said: “ In 2013 there were six cases, in 2014 there were two cases, in 2015 the number recorded was six and in the current year till date the figure stands at six.” There were eight girls among the deceased students, he told The Hindu .

According to Prof. N.N. Raju, former superintendent of Government Hospital for Mental Care, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The records at the CCRB indicate just the official figures; there are many cases that go unrecorded and are hushed up.

Comparisons that kill
According to Prof. Raju, the main reason being the direct and indirect comparison by the teachers, peers and parents at home.

“Comparison wreaks havoc on the minds of the students and they develop an inferiority complex, which leads to depression and finally to suicide. Most of the cases that come to me, share this feeling,” said Dr. Raju.

According to Dr. Deepa Mohan, Head of the Department of Psychology, GITAM University, the ambience and the environment in the corporate junior colleges that are engaged in EAMCET and IIT coaching, act as a catalyst to this problem.
“Students are discriminated on the basis of the marks they obtain and are subjected to humiliation.

Instead of being considerate towards the under-performing students and helping them to do better, they are segregated and sent to a different classroom and are branded as ‘no good fellows’,” said Dr. Deepa.

Noted clinical psychiatrist from Vijayawada Indla Vishal opined that students with average academic record should avoid joining the corporate colleges, as the stress levels are very high.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Can suicide rates be reduced to zero? - BBC News

Can suicide rates be reduced to zero?


Presented by My Perfect Country

In collaboration with BBC News Magazine

Around the world a person dies by suicide every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organization. The social and economic pressure this places on nations – as well as on family, friends and community – is enormous. Yet only 28 countries are reported to have a national suicide prevention strategy.

So how are different countries and communities responding to this issue, and is it possible to develop a public strategy to prevent suicide?

This guide is produced by My Perfect Country for the BBC World Service, presented by broadcaster Fi Glover, entrepreneur Martha Lane Fox, and Henrietta Moore, director of UCL Institute for Global Prosperity.

2.How do these countries deal with suicide?
Click on the country labels to reveal more information

3.Case-study: Detroit

In Detroit, Michigan, the Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) has been celebrated for its work to reduce suicide rates among mental health patients. In the last two-and-a-half years, they report that they have not lost a single patient to suicide.

"Zero suicides"
The goal of HFHS is to eliminate suicide. As part of their "Perfect Depression Care" they screen every single patient for risk of suicide, not just those who present with mental health problems. Care is then tailored to the needs of patients identified as being at-risk. The centre also promotes communication between patient and healthcare professionals, as well as among the healthcare professionals themselves.

Access to all?
HFHS is a not-for-profit corporation, but is private and used mainly by those with health insurance. The main HFHS mental health clinic is in Detroit, where the poverty rate is 39%, and substance abuse alongside other factors connected to suicide rates are high. So not everyone has access to this service. In 2015, the centre saw 74,000 patients.

Crossing the Atlantic
Elsewhere, the method is catching on. In the UK, Mersey Care, an NHS mental health trust in Liverpool, has also committed to a zero-suicide model, following the HFHS approach. Mersey Care is also working with Stanford University to develop a mobile phone app as a monitoring tool for suicide prevention, which would provide round-the-clock support.

4.How local becomes international
Inspired by the Detroit model, a new approach to suicide prevention has been adopted in the east of England. Caroline Dollery, who is Clinical Director for the East of England strategic clinical network for mental health, explains the benefits and the challenges.

"We wanted to bring the experience, learning and methods from Detroit into the east of England sites that were keen to try this out," says Dollery.

5.Where next?

MY STORY: A Friend’s Suicide Led This IIT Alumnus to Touch 2 Lakh Lives with a Unique Platform - Better India

Guest Contributor March 23, 2016 My Story

In the MY STORY section, we present some of the most compelling and pertinent stories and experiences shared with us by our readers. Do you have something to share? Write to us: with “MY STORY” in the subject line.

I encountered a life changing event when I was in college. One of my hostel mates at IIT Guwahati committed suicide because she was worried about her placements and was under excessive stress. Surprisingly, she did not show any visible signs of depression before that day. She never spoke to anyone about her concerns and the fact that she could take such a drastic step was beyond my imagination. To witness something like this from such close quarters raised many questions for me. How can someone take such a drastic step in spite of having access to a well-qualified counsellor within the campus?
I just could not understand why, and my curiosity led me to continue researching on the issue even after completing graduation.

And I found the answer in the taboo associated with mental health in India. I could see people who were stressed and worried everywhere around me. The statistics around depression and mental health in the country was even more alarming. One person out of every 10 in India is depressed and that is an extremely shocking number. I sensed that people wanted to share their worries but they couldn’t find anyone to confide in. Moreover, many people did not want others to know about their condition because they were worried that if people found out, they would be considered insane. This ignorance made caused many people to keep their stress to themselves.
That was how my perseverance and belief in the need of a system that could help everyday people improve their mental health, led me to start YourDOST – an online emotional wellness coach. With YourDOST, anyone in need of emotional support, mental wellness, self-improvement, personality development, etc. can easily talk to experts. Users can sign up anonymously and express their concerns before practicing psychologists, counsellors, career experts, and mentors.
By effectively utilizing technology, YourDOST is able to address two very critical aspects of seeking mental and emotional wellness – accessibility and anonymity.

In short, YourDOST is an online friend for people in need. We help people boost their confidence, build stronger relationships and overcome everyday problems better. Today, YourDOST has around 200 experts, 20 full time employees and we have already touched more than 2,00,000 lives.
I know that there is a long way to go before we completely end the stigma around mental health in India. But after reaching this stage, I also know that there is no stopping us. YourDOST will continue marching on this mission and touching more lives.
– Richa Singh

Monday, March 21, 2016

Meet – A Startup Which Stopped approx 70,000 People From Committing Suicide- Trak.In

March 18, 2016 at 18:51 pm

The tipping point in the life of Richa Singh, founder of online counselling startup came in 2008, when her hostel mate from IIT Guwahati committed suicide due to academic and social pressure.

As Richa shared, “Later on, it was found that she was under pressure. She was unable to cope with the heavy syllabus and wondered whether her low scores would get her a decent placement. That incident just changed the way I used to think about life and the way things can suddenly turn around.”

Despite not being a psychologist or a counsellor, she launched her startup ‘YourDost’ in 2014, with the only knowledge of the technical aspects and a will to stop people from committing suicide and helping those who are facing emotional trauma and distress.

As it always happens, when a good and noble mission is started, like-minded people automatically join in to enlarge the cause. Her long time friends Puneet Manuja and Prakhar Verma soon joined her startup after leaving their respective jobs, and YourDost started to become huge.

Designed as a platform to provide services of a ‘Emotional Wellness Coach’, YourDost now has a team of psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors, life coaches and career guides which provide chat based services for those who are confused, scared, hurt and emotionally unstable.

As per available reports, YourDost now gets somewhere between 350-400 conversations per day, as there exists 200+ experts from various walks of life who are contributing to the cause, and helping people to survive and live.

Around 2,00,000 people have sought guidance on this platform, 10,000 people have registered themselves, and approximately 70,000 people decided to ditch the idea of suicide and live.

Last year in November, YourDost raised Rs 2.5 crore as venture capital from RedBus founder Phanindra Sama, TaxiForSure founder Aprameya Radhakrishna, Capillary founder Aneesh Reddy and Nagesh Grandhi of Hyderabad Angels. This clearly means that there are investors and promoters who don’t want crisp ROI on every investment – they want a better society as well.

As per Richa, the funds would be used for creating awareness about emotional well being, develop a stronger platform for supporting more conversations, to increase their team and to develop content which can help emotionally distressed people.
Interestingly, Richa has tried several unique innovations, which has made YourDost a robust, scalable and dependable platform to offer high impact psychological support. For instance, the ability to remain anonymous.

As per Richa, “We all face problems, stress and anxiety at some point in our life but mostly we are not willing to talk about these, fearing social implications, being judged and for the fear of being judged. We are confident that technology combined with empathy and right kind of experts will go a long way in helping people going through a various emotional and mental challenges and equipping them to better deal with it,”
More power to Richa and her team; and best wishes for for doing a task which our society has failed to do.

Want to commit suicide? This portal will prevent you from taking extreme step! = One India

By: Preeti Panwar 
Updated: Thursday, March 17, 2016, 18:00 [IST] 
Give your rating: 

Bengaluru, March 17: At a time when daily newspapers and news channels show news reports, showing people committing suicides, for even petty reason, an IIT alumnus, Richa Singh, has come up with a novel idea. In an attempt to stop people from ending their lives, Richa has founded a crowd-funded online portal,, where psychologists and coaches offer advice to those who are undergoing depression or stress in their lives. 
[IIT-Guwahati student found dead] 

             Richa Singh, Founder of YourDOST 

According to news reports, when Richa was a student in IIT guwahati, her friend had committed suicide, as she was under pressure to get a job placement. 

"We want to become a one stop solution for people's mental and emotional wellness be it personal, professional or academic", Richa was quoted saying as to Buzzfeed. 

[IIT-Bombay student commits suicide] 

About YourDOST 

YourDOST describes itself as, "YourDOST is your personal emotional fitness trainer - a trusted online friend you can talk to and a qualified expert who knows how to help you! The professionally trained counsellors help you cope with tough times - work stress, relationship, self-image and many more, and support you in your quest for self improvement." 

The portal also gives an option of chatting online with experts and book appointments. It provides an online counselling and emotional support platform designed to foster mental health by offering de-stressing tips and techniques, motivational quotes, etc. 

A panel of experts provide personalised guidance by helping them in develop healthy personal relationships, productive and satisfying work-life balance, more focused approach towards achieving goals and more confident self. 

They also claim to provide 24*7 support to guide people and the users have the variety of choice to choose among over 20 psychologists, psychotherapists, counsellors, life coaches and career guides. 

The information is kept completely confidential and users also do need to reveal their identitiy and they can present themselves as anonymous. 

[IIT Madras student ends life] 
[IIT graduate pursuing higher studies in US commits suicide] [Feeling depressed or hopeless? Check with your brain, not heart] 

OneIndia News Read in Telugu: ఒత్తిడిలో ఆత్మహత్య చేసుకోవాలనుకునే వారికి ఈ ఆన్‌లైన్ పోర్టల్ రక్ష! Read more about: suicide, depression, 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

This IIT alumnus has stopped close to 70,000 people from committing suicide

This IIT alumnus has stopped close to 70,000 people from committing suicide

According to an earlier study by the World Health Organisation(WHO), Indians are among the worst hit by depression, with nearly 36 percent of the population having a major depressive episode. While one person in India commits suicide every four minutes, younger Indians are among the worst hit.
That’s why Richa Singh, an IIT Guwahati alumnus, started, an emotional support system for people to discuss problems with qualified and experienced individuals, in anonymity.
Image : The Week
Image : The Week
Problems among those who have sought help range from stress due to bad performance in competitive exams like CAT, IAS, etc. and relationship issues, anxiety during exam preparation, and the feeling of rejection due to working in a field they don’t enjoy, reported The Huffington Post.
According to a 2015 report in The Economic Times, stress is part and parcel of college life, but for some students at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), it can get overwhelming. Everything adds up: daunting academic loads, struggling to keep up after a lifetime of being an overachiever and the burden of expectations from family, friends and peers.
Image: The New Indian Express
Image: The New Indian Express
In 2014, the IITs saw an estimated 14 student suicides, probably the highest ever across these elite colleges. The inability to cope – often spiraling into depression – has haunted several students. “The world creates artificial expectations. There’s peer pressure, family pressure, societal pressure.
Unfortunately, for some students, their ambition is centered around pay packages. To their mind, their success will be judged only around their pay packages and placements,” said Indranil Manna, director, IIT Kanpur.
This is where Richa’s contribution plays a crucial role. Anonymity helps, says Richa. “We all face problems, stress and anxiety at some point in our life but mostly we are not willing to talk about these, fearing social implications, being judged and for the fear of being judged. We are confident that technology combined with empathy and right kind of experts will go a long way in helping people going through a various emotional and mental challenges and equipping them to better deal with it,” says Richa in a report in Business Standard.
Available as a free service both through its web portal and mobile app, YourDOST, according to Inc 42, has close to 70,000 users which is growing at about 40% month-on-month basis. Earlier in 2015, Yourstory had published an article onYourDOST.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Rohith's suicide, JNU row unites Left and Dalit students all over India

|7 March 2016

University and college campuses in India are seeing more unity between opposing student unions than ever before thanks to the issues of the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula and the nationalism-sedition controversy at JNU. Some colleges that never had a student body before are also now creating them.

In JNU, from where Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar was charged with sedition together with seven other students with various political ideologies after an event was organised on campus on 9 February, where anti-national slogans were allegedly raised, Leftist student organisations such as the Students Federation of India, All India Students Federation and the All India Students Association are now working together with Dalit group, Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students Association (Bapsa).

The All India Students Association and All India Students Federation members were the first in JNU to protest discrimination against Dalits after Rohith's suicide on 17 January, and Bapsa members participated in rallies organised by their one-time rivals to protest the government and police crackdown on JNU.

"We still have ideological differences but have decided to join hands on common issues. It's not a permanent union," said Manikanta, a Bapsa leader.".the recent association is aimed at fighting the Right-wing forces, which are on a mission to destroy institutions."

Do You Know Your Classmate is Suicidal? - Indian Express

By Varun B Krishnan
Published: 07th March 2016 03:31 AM

Try Googling ‘Suicide Tamil Nadu’. By the time you type the ‘a’ in Tamil Nadu, the search engine throws up disturbing suggestions like ‘suicide tips in Tamil’. It’s a widely known fact that Tamil Nadu ranks a notorious second in the number of suicides reported per year (16,122 in 2014; 853 student deaths according to the National Crime Records Bureau). But looking closely at the suicide trend after the death of three college girls in Villupuram, it has come to light that student suicides are not restricted to Board Exam time alone, and stories about college students committing suicide are often reduced to tiny news items.

On February 27, a college student in Tiruchy hanged himself as he was accused of stealing a mobile phone. On February 17, a student in Virudhunagar district self-immolated after he was taken to task on disciplinary grounds. In October last year, two students who had come from smaller towns took their lives at IIT-Madras.

A pattern emerges from the data — several college students who commit suicide fall under certain categories: they hail from smaller towns, they come from weak economic backgrounds, and some of their parents may have even sold their land or mortgaged their jewellery for the sake of educating their children. “Students from rural areas are brilliant in academics, but they lack knowledge about interpersonal relationships, social life and the diversity here,” says Saras Bhaskar, a counselling psychologist. “To rectify this situation, there has to be a proper orientation programme which will make the transition to college life easier.”

Illustration  Tapas Ranjan

Christina, a student counsellor at Loyola College, concurs. “We insist that in orientation, there should be group formation and group activities — let them mingle with other students. Once they form a group, there won’t be too many problems,” she says. “But when they begin to feel they don’t belong in this place or college, that’s a serious concern. Such students strongly feel like outsiders and wait for people to talk to them.”

Another issue is that many students have a lot of free time. If college hours are 8.30 am to 1.30 pm, they have the rest of the day to themselves. “Without a proper group, they start drinking or use drugs,” adds Chrisina. “A neuro-pathway gets created in a way that they are always out of reality.”

Saras Bhaskar recalls a case when a student’s roommates came to her with a problem — their friend was isolating himself for long periods. “He was in a depressed state and didn’t want his parents to know,” she says. Bhaskar advises counselling for parents too, while Christina adds that parents need to allow children to mingle with everyone, face situations, and help them live through failures.

Prevention of suicide should be a holistic approach that involves students, the institution, parents and teachers, they opine.

  • Sunday, March 6, 2016

    19-yr-old IIT aspirant hangs self in Kota - TNN

    19-yr-old IIT aspirant hangs self in Kota

    TNN | Mar 5, 2016, 01.39 AM IST

    JAIPUR: Students continue to succumb to pressure of studies in Kota. A 19-year-old coaching student - preparing for IIT - was found hanging at his rented accommodation in Kota's Vigyan Nagar area on Thursday night. Though the police didn't recover any suicide note, they have not ruled out the possibility that he took the extreme step unable to cope with study pressure.

    The student, Arvind Kushwah, was a resident of Bhind in Madhya Pradesh and was preparing for IIT entrance exam from a private coaching institute. He stayed as a paying guest at a rented accommodation in Kota's Indra Colony.

    "He was seen outside his room in the morning on Thursday, but later he bolted his room from inside. He didn't turn up for lunch at the mess. Nobody noticed his absence. The landlord Karan Kumar Prajapati thought that he must be busy with studies and eaten out," said a police officer.

    The officer said that when the boy didn't come out of his room till evening, the landlord and other students living in the same building got suspicious and knocked on his door. On getting no response, they informed the police.

    A police team from Vigyan Nagar police station arrived at the spot and got the body down after breaking open the door.

    "The boy was rushed to a hospital, but doctors declared him brought dead. We didn't recover any suicide note. We are recording statements of his hostelmates and his teachers at the coaching. It has come up that the boy was an introvert. He was good at studies, but was keeping to himself for the past few days," said the officer. The officer added that the family members were informed. "They arrived in Kota on Friday following which a post-mortem examination was conducted. The body has been handed over to the family members. Further investigation is going on," said the officer.

    Another IIT aspirant ‘kills himself’ in Kota - TNN

    Another IIT aspirant ‘kills himself’ in Kota
    TNN | Mar 5, 2016, 04.38 AM IST

    JAIPUR: In yet another case of suspected suicide due to academic pressure, a 19-year-old student of one of Kota's IIT coaching institutes was found hanging in his rented room, on Thursday night. 

    Seventeen coaching students had committed suicide in Kotalast year. Arvind Kushwah, a resident of Bhind in Madhya Pradesh, stayed as a paying guest in Indra Colony, part of Kota's Vigyan Nagar area. Although police did not recover a suicide note, they have not ruled out the possibility of him taking the extreme step under academic pressure.

    Arvind's landlord Karan Kumar Prajapati said the boy was last seen outside his room on Thursday morning. Nobody noticed his absence in the mess at lunch time. The landlord presumed he had eaten outside and was studying, as the room was bolted from inside, said a police officer.

    But when Arvind skipped dinner also, the landlord and the other tenants came to check on him. They called police on not getting a response from inside. A police team from Vigyan Nagar police station broke open the door and took the boy's body down. He was declared dead on arrival at a hospital. "We didn't recover a suicide note.

    We are recording statements of other hostellers and his teachers at the coaching institute. The boy was an introvert. He was good at studies, but was keeping to himself for the past few days," said the officer. Arvind's body was handed over to his family after a post-mortem on Friday.

    Saturday, March 5, 2016

    JNU row, Rohith Vemula's suicide: Decoding HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s speech in Lok Sabha - ZEE News

    Last Updated: Thursday, March 3, 2016 - 21:28

    Just before the Budget Session of Parliament, it was reported in the media, though not officially confirmed, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted his party colleagues to go all out and be aggressive on the JNU row and the Afzal Guru controversy. And, we saw just that from various BJP lawmakers like Anurag Thakur and Venkaiah Naidu who sought to make the debate into one of nationalism versus anti-nationals.

    However, it was the firebrand HRD Minister Smriti Irani who stole the show in Lok Sabha and became the talking point. Her speech was debated in TV studios and became one of the top trends on social media. It also impressed PM Modi so much so that he tweeted a link of the speech and asked people to listen to it.

    There is no doubt that for someone who is just a little over a decade old in politics, Irani exudes tremendous amount of confidence and has a ready rejoinder to the barbs thrown at her by her opponents. And that is what was at display in Parliament, especially in Lok Sabha where she sought to turn the tables on the Opposition and hammered home the point that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was a political opportunist who, if given a chance, would even align with so-called anti-nationals.

    What struck many was the fact that like a good show, the young minister’s speech was laced with both emotion and aggression. Her eyes welled up with tears when talking about the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula where she talked about herself being a mother, but the next moment she thundered with anger and challenged anyone to prove that she was guilty of saffronisation of education.

    Irani also countered the Opposition charge that she failed in performing her duty and took a dig at Congress, saying that they were taking revenge from her for contesting against Rahul in 2014 General Elections. Perhaps, she went a little overboard with the theatrics and sounded dramatic when she said ‘my name is Smriti Irani and I challenge you to tell my caste’, but in a nutshell there is no doubt that she stood her ground with her oratorical skills and by summoning the right materials and papers.

    However, the flip side is that Irani banked on emotions and aggression to circumvent certain matters that the BJP is not very comfortable answering. For example, the minister did not touch upon BJP’s alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir with the latter’s view not really in sync with the former on Afzal Guru. 

    Also, having sort of won the battle in the Lok Sabha, it was a different ball game in the Rajya Sabha for Irani. The Upper House saw huge uproar over her comments on the ‘Mahishasur Martyrdom Day’ being celebrated in JNU with the Opposition accusing the HRD Minister of trying to play communal politics. And BSP chief Mayawati did not let go of the chance to corner Irani by pointing out anomalies in her speech and accusing of BJP of being anti-Dalit.

    Not only this, Vemula’s family and friends called the minister's speech in Parliament about the events surrounding the Dalit scholar’s death as a bunch of lies. And her assertions that no doctor was allowed to attend to Vemula for hours and hours, were also refuted by a university physician. To clear the air, Irani needs to tell the nation as to what her facts were based on, otherwise she will be accused of misleading the House.

    The HRD Minister is not new to controversies and in the short span that she has occupied the office she has weathered many storms – like the allegations of intervention in IIT appointments and accusations of appointments at various educational bodies of those sympathetic to ‘Hindutava agenda’. She was also attacked by the Opposition for allegedly giving wrong facts about her educational qualifications.

    However, every time she gave it back to those criticising her in her own style and it’s likely that Irani may wriggle out of this one too. Yet, she has to be careful because people see through half-truths and lies, if any. But as of now, the HRD Minister to a large extent was successful in fulfilling her party’s agenda of playing on the nationalistic sentiments in the Lok Sabha and emphatically driving home the point to her opponents by stating - “I am not certifying your patriotism, but don’t demean mine. I am not certifying your idea of India, but don’t demean mine.”

    First Published: Thursday, March 3, 2016 - 21:27

    Friday, March 4, 2016

    You lied in Lok Sabha: IIT-B Dalit student's mom tells Smriti Irani in open letter - Mid Day

    By Pallavi Smart |Posted 28-Feb-2016

    Sunita Ambhore, mother of Dalit IIT-B student Aniket Ambhore, who committed suicide in 2014, says her letter to HRD ministry, didn’t make it to the 61,892 letters Irani claims to have responded to

    Her speech in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday — an explanation of the government’s stand on the suicide of Hyderabad scholar and Rohith Vemula and the arrest of JNU student’s union leader Kanhaiya Kumar — may have got Union HRD Minister, Smriti Zubin Irani both accolades and criticism, however, there is one person at least who feels Irani’s ministry has for long denied her justice.

    Sunita and Sanjay Ambhore, parents of Aniket, had visited Rohith Vemula’s family earlier this month. Sunita says the Vemulas have been receiving threats, being asked to “back-off” from the case. Pics/Suresh KK
    Sunita Ambhore is the mother of Aniket Ambhore - a student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) who was found dead after allegedly slipping and falling off the sixth floor of a hostel building in September 2014. It’s believed that Aniket may have committed suicide as he wasn’t doing well academically.

    Aniket Ambhore, a student of IIT-B, allegedly committed suicide in 2014. Officials said he took this step since he wasn’t performing well academically

    Ambhore, who has now written an open letter to the Union minister on her Facebook post said, “After the JNU controversy, I feel that institutions of higher education are pointlessly being politicised, whereas, there are more important issues that need attention.”

    In her post, which Ambhore — a Hindi lecturer — hopes many share, she accuses Irani of lying in the Parliament and also not acting on the 11-page letter that the Ambhores’ had written following Aniket’s death.

    While meeting sunday mid-day at her Prabhadevi home, she said, “We had written a letter to her department on November 29, 2014, regarding the current student scenario, wishing that whatever ill occurred to my son must not happen again with any other student.” Ambhore said her family hasn’t yet received a response from the ministry.

    Ambhore also said that her letter wanted the ministry to ensure that parents were taken into confidence if their child was not performing at the institute - another aspect that seems to have been ignored.

    Meanwhile, earlier this month, the Ambhore family visited Hyderabad to show their support for Vemula’s family. The Ambhores collected R1 lakh to help Vemula’s mother in her struggle for justice. “The Vemulas are not even living in their house but are always on the HCU campus. They keep receiving threats asking them to back-off from the case. They have been offered money even. We went to meet them just to show that we support them. It is not easy to lose a young son, we understand their plight,” said Ambhore.
    Ambhore's letter

    Dear HRD minister Smriti Iraniji,
    We had written to you regarding the current student scenario, wishing that whatever ill occurred to my son doesn’t happen again with any other student; and there be a healthy environment in all of educational campuses, for SC/ST students in order to help them flourish.
    This appeal was made to you on 29th Nov ‘14. But, no action has been taken for it yet. You claimed that you resolved 61,892 cases that had come to your ministry from May 1, 2014, till date. But, our request isn’t one of them.
    A large number of outstation students study in the respective IIT branches, staying away from home. The gap that needs to be filled is that if any student isn’t performing well in academics, or is suffering from any stress, isn’t it the responsibility of the institute to inform his/her parents about this? Had the management at IIT-B taken this step, the unfortunate wouldn’t have happened.
    All these concerns were written to you, expecting fair...amendments in the functioning. Also, the speech that you made yesterday in the Lok Sabha was very arrogant and did not help in the discussion that was expected. Students look forward to an open and stress-free environment. Such justifications have only widened the tension amongst students. We were expecting you to make a statement that would’ve help us fight our sorrows; instead, your speech sounded like you only cared about your ‘safe-side’ and justifications pertaining to Rohith’s case.

    (The letter has been translated from Hindi)
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