NCERT’s guidelines for early identification of mental health problems in students

Recently, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) issued the guidelines for “Early identification and intervention for mental health problems in school going children and adolescents”.

Key facts

  • The guidelines were released after a nationwide survey found that exams, results and peer pressure has caused an increase in stress and anxiety levels among school students.
  • The guidelines require every school or groups of schools to set up a mental health advisory panel.
  • This panel should be chaired by the principal and must include parents, teachers, students and alumni as members.
  • This panel would be involved in raising awareness and implementing age and gender-appropriate school mental health programme every year.
  • The guidelines also require schools to identify behavior, substance abuse and self-harm, depression and developmental concerns among students.
  • Teachers are mandated to be informed and trained to identify early warning signs as they are the primary caregivers.
  • They will be trained to identify early signs of attachment issues, separation anxiety, school refusal, communication issues, anxiety patterns, depressive state, conduct-related issues, excessive internet use, hyperactivity, intellectual disability and learning disabilities.
  • The teachers are also required to raise awareness about bullying among students and create confidential means for students to report such incidents.

Mental health issues among students

A recent study conducted by the NCERT involving 3 lakh students from across India has found that about 81 per cent of students suffer anxiety because of exams and studies. Such mental health issues may be caused the large-scale suicide cases reported among students by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). Mental health issues are found to occur during early stage of life. Over 50 per cent of mental health conditions occur at the age of 14 and three-fourth occur by the age of 25.

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