Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What IITK Actually Needs to do About the Suicides

In the wake of another suicide at IITK, the internet is again ablaze with a lot of discussion, thinking and soul searching about what’s going wrong. This I’m sure is also reflected much more strongly among the student community on campus which is deeply sensitive about this issue. In stark contrast is this ridiculous report which says that IITK administration is blaming the internet and mobile phones for a rise in depression, stress and suicides.

I mean, really?! The whole argument is so stupid that I’m not even going to dignify it with a comment. Instead I offer two humble suggestions, in case anyone is listening.

1. Hire some trained psychologists and therapists. Why are depression, anxiety, stress and suicidal tendencies being talked about like some supernatural occurrence that leaves us totally baffled?! They are relatively well studied phenomenon with established therapies and medications to help people overcome their problems. So hire some therapists and put them to work!

The counseling service does a great job and having personally benefited from it, I can vouch for its effectiveness. However, the fact remains that none of these people are trained psychologists and therapists and ill-equipped to deal with every situation.

2. Second, there will be a whole lot of taboo against going to these therapists and psychologists. So we need increase awareness in the students about the issues surrounding stress, addiction (internet and otherwise) and depression. We need to make people aware that it’s OKAY to seek out help and that counseling for depression isn’t the same as being ‘crazy’.

I’m not suggesting that this will solve all our problems. But these are simple, effective, tried and tested ways of dealing with depression in all modern communities. Why the administration can’t see this simple fact, is beyond me. Perhaps if they manage to thinking beyond childishly blaming internet and mobiles phones they’d be able to get it.

Update: Just as I was writing this, I got an email from the Alumni Association with this report that makes the same recommendation. The email says that it has been acted upon. This is good news. If anyone knows the details, please leave a comment.

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