Home Mental health SAATHI Counselling Club: Prioritizing Student Mental Wellness at IIT Guwahati

SAATHI Counselling Club: Prioritizing Student Mental Wellness at IIT Guwahati

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The SAATHI Counselling Club at the Institute extends its support to every student from B.Tech to Ph.D. of the IIT Guwahati community and helps in maintaining a collaborative and comfortable atmosphere within the campus

Aligning with the Ministry of Educations’ guidelines titled ‘UMEED’ to enhance sensitivity and understanding, and providing support to at-risk students, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati) is at the forefront of fostering student mental wellness. Considering the rising instances of self-harming incidents among students, the Institute has established a dedicated mental health and counselling system in the form of a centre for holistic wellbeing. SAATHI Counselling Club, a part of this centre consisting of student volunteers of IIT Guwahati supports fellow students in their mental and overall wellbeing with the help of the professional counsellors.

There are multiple initiatives started by the Institute’s SAATHI Counselling Club to support students’ overall wellbeing. These include:

  • Ice breaking session for the first year UG students

IIT Guwahati makes sure its students are given proper guidance and support. As soon as freshers arrive on the campus an ice-breaking session is conducted for them to establish a warm and inclusive atmosphere and to facilitate connections among them. This session also aims to raise awareness about the mental health and overall well-being while acquainting students with the resources and support available through the Counselling Cell and the Center for Holistic Wellbeing.

These ice-breaking sessions are conducted within each hostel that helps in expanding students’ social networks, enabling them to connect with their peers through enjoyable games and activities.

  • Peer mentorship program

The Peer Mentorship Program aligns with this notion by assigning peer mentors to the new students. These mentors play a pivotal role in providing relevant information, clearing doubts, and assisting with various challenges, serving as guiding lights for the newcomers when they feel lost.

The mentors are expected to maintain regular communication with their mentees, conducting at least two meetings per month. They are also required to keep detailed records of these meetings and monitor the progress of their mentees.

This initiative has enabled the team to effectively reach out to those in need and addressed numerous cases of stress and difficulties in adjusting to the competitive environment.

  • Stress Escape Room Workshop in partnership with MindPeers

To help students in coping with the semester examinations, the SAATHI Counselling Club recently conducted a Stress Escape Room workshop in collaboration with MindPeers. The event aimed sharing knowledge on how to deal and manage stress and exploring entrepreneurship and career choices. Over 200 students actively participated in this workshop.

  • Mandatory interaction with the institute counsellors for UG first year students

The SAATHI Counselling Club has prepared a full-fledged schedule for the first year UG students so that they can get the opportunity to interact with the counsellors of the Institute associated with the Centre for Holistic Wellbeing. The schedule has been prepared such that the interaction sessions do not coincide with the academic timetable of the students. The mandatory interaction helps the students in familiarizing themselves with the counsellors and the counselling services available on campus. This also removes the stigma associated with seeking help for mental health concerns, emphasizing that it is a perfectly acceptable and normal thing to do.

  • Active participation and involvement in case of any emergency situations

The SAATHI Counselling Club has been proactive in addressing mental health issues and similar concerns among the students. They have successfully supported students experiencing panic attacks, stress, depression, and abnormal behaviour reported by students. Some students themselves have courageously reached out, sharing their self-harming tendencies or thoughts and some cases have been brought forth by the hostel mates. In response to these critical situations, the support from the club has been swift and effective. They have taken immediate action by personally meeting with affected students, ensuring they receive the necessary support and guidance. Through their intervention, these students have been connected with counsellors, psychiatrists, and other essential resources.

These proactive efforts have already yielded positive results, including successful assistance of numerous students dealing with stress, depression, and anxiety.

Speaking about IIT Guwahati’s extensive Students Welfare activities, Prof. Parameswar K. Iyer, Officiating Director, IIT Guwahati, said, “Embracing the profound importance of student mental wellness is not merely a priority; it is an imperative. A resilient mind serves as the bedrock of academic excellence and comprehensive personal growth. At our Institute, we boast a certified team of counsellors and psychiatrists, bolstered by a 24-hour online counselling service readily accessible to every student. Our unwavering commitment to student welfare isn’t just a slogan; We have made counselling mandatory for all incoming students, with dedicated support available right at their doorsteps. At IIT Guwahati, we wholeheartedly dedicate ourselves to nurturing our students’ well-being, as we recognize that their success and contentment hinge upon it.”

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