Help kids cope with stress, say counsellors after student’s death

August 28th, 2008 - 8:55 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 28 (IANS) Children need help to cope with stress, be it due to studies or their social life, otherwise they could end up taking extreme steps like the suicide by a Class 11 student of a well known city public school, counsellors and teachers said.Pushpanjali Raj, a student of Delhi Public School, R.K. Puram, fell to her death in the school premises Wednesday.

Reacting to the incident, Sarita Goswami, a teacher of the school, said Pushpanjali was a hard working student but an introvert and most possibly under pressure because of her studies.

“We counselled Pushpanjali like other students when the term began and helped her in academics. But she was probably stressed because of her studies,” Goswami said.

“Also, a lot of senior students have told me earlier that students from small towns carry a burden of expectations when they come to bigger public schools. While no one treats any student differently, Pushpanjali must have been under pressure to perform well,” she added.

Pushpanjali, 16, who hailed from Jharkhand, was found dead under mysterious circumstances. School authorities said she “apparently” jumped to death from the fifth floor of the hostel bathroom.

Echoing Goswami’s sentiments, Reena Seghal, counsellor at Amity International School told IANS: “Parents’ expectations are too high. Earlier people were not so involved in the rat race, your child could also have the option of becoming a shopkeeper. But now with economic development, individuals want professions like engineering, medicine and other high profile jobs for their children.

“Competition and comparison with others drives children to harbour poor self esteem.”

According to Geetanjali Kumar, counsellor with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), one out of 10 children face emotional stress today.

“I meet kids everyday, one in 10 kids face emotional stress,” Kumar told IANS.

Offering solutions to help children cope with the ever escalating pressure, counsellors said that both parents and teachers should come forth and communicate more with the children.

“The solution starts at home, with the need to educate parents to not push kids into corners and instead support them. The next stage is school - counsellors and medical experts should keep communicating with the children through counselling sessions realizing that each child comes from a different setup and background,” Sehgal offered.

Added Kumar: “In addition, the school curriculum and system should advocate emphasis on life skills and wellness that explains and acquaints students not only to changes in the body, but psychological and emotional changes as well, and helps them learn to cope with stress that life brings with it.”

Helping Pushpanjali’s school mates cope with the shock of the sudden death, DPS, R.K. Puram organised a prayer meeting in the school Thursday. The authorities plan to have counselling cum condolence meetings over the next few days.

“About 20-25 teachers of the school visited the students in the hostel after the incident to help them recover from the shock. We are doing what we can to help the students,” Atika Dayal, spokesperson of the school, said.

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