HYDERABAD: On an average, every week, three to four students go for counselling to the department of health psychology at the University of Hyderabad. And, many more consult experts outside. Their problems range from academic pressure to peer pressure and family and financial affairs.
But Naresh Kumar, the research scholar who committed suicide at the NRS hostel on Thursday, had never approached the department. “It is sad to see a young life go in this way. I am sad that Naresh felt lonely and took this extreme step,” said Prof Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, Vice-Chancellor of UOH. Speaking at a condolence meeting on the campus on Friday, he urged the faculty members and students to make sure that none is isolated. “We should be able to reach out to the ones who are in need of help,” he said.
A rather shocked student community, through their representatives in the students’ union, said students need to be mentally strong while aiming for academic excellence. On Naresh Kumar, both students and faculty members said he was a brilliant scholar.
Dean of Students’ Welfare Prof Rajasekhar, wondering about the reasons that led to Naresh’s decision, said, “he was appreciated for his work by his doctoral committee just the previous day and it might have been a couple of hours disturbance that led to his suicide”.
When asked about the need for a counseling center on the campus, Prof Rajasekhar said, “Earlier we had a professional counselor who used to visit the campus health center but now university has an entire department of health psychology with over a dozen psychologists who offer counseling”.
He added that on an average around three to four students avail the services of the department every week, but there was also a trend among students to avail services of outside counselors to conceal their personal problems from dear and near ones.
The university, according to Prof Rajasekhar, was a mix of rural and urban population. He said often students from rural backgrounds, who are educated in the local medium, find it difficult to adjust in the mixed campus culture and lose confidence and find themselves unable to concentrate on studies.
He added that the university also offers special language classes for such students every semester. Sometimes, students discuss their financial and family worries with the faculty of the health psychology department, he said.
Naresh Kumar had completed his Msc in Biochemistry from the Banaras Hindu University and Mphil from Pondicherry University before joining the University of Hyderabad four years ago.