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Thursday, August 30, 2012

164 - Suicide shocks IIT as therapy falls short - TNN


M Ramya, TNN Apr 10, 2012, 05.04AM IST

CHENNAI: A day after a second year student Kuldeep Yadav committed suicide, faculty and students of IIT Madras were still in shock, trying to come to terms with the fact that a life was lost despite efforts to counsel students.

"When I heard the news I was devastated because we had set up a system that has helped save many lives," said professor Sivakumar Srinivasan, chief advisor of Mentoring and Individual Transformation (MITR), the revamped guidance and counselling unit at IIT-M. Over the last few months, the institute has tried to sensitize students about education, social life and relationships on campus through MITR.

Dean of students L S Ganesh said the institute had segregated students into groups of BTech and dual degree students, postgraduate students and research scholars, and women students to provide the support each group needed.

Students are mentored by faculty members with a special interest in student welfare. A tele-counselling facility is active round the clock. Academic programmes are being configured to suit students.

He said that information flow was also being streamlined. "We got information about this student within five or 10 minutes. In 20 minutes, he was taken to a private hospital outside campus. It's sad that we could not save him," Ganesh said. Despite being prepared to provide support to students, the faculty admits that they are at a loss when such events happen.

The institute has facilitated individual counselling sessions for the students who tried to save Kuldeep. The girl who was reportedly close to Kuldeep has been sent home. "She has to with her loved ones now. We didn't want her to be disturbed by anybody. After a few days when she knows how to handle the issue, she will be offered the counselling services," Ganesh said.

The faculty said that the incident has pushed them to work harder to offer support to students. "For many it's their first experience away from parental care. We don't want to curtail their freedom. We only want to tell them how to take care," Ganesh said.