Preventing suicides: Took NEET? Expect check-in call

Over 300 counsellors from district war rooms to reach out to candidates, allay their fears

Published: 16th September 2021 04:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th September 2021 04:14 PM   |  A+A-

Health Minister Ma Subramanian speaks to a student over the ‘104’ helpline at the DMS campus in Chennai. (Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

Health Minister Ma Subramanian speaks to a student over the ‘104’ helpline at the DMS campus in Chennai. (Photo | Debadatta Mallick, EPS)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Health Minister Ma Subramanian on Wednesday launched a stress-management counselling service for students from Tamil Nadu who appeared for the NEET-UG. The service was launched at the 104 helpline centre in the DMS campus here after three students in the State died by suicide, allegedly due to fear of the exam results.

The Health department has collected the contact numbers of all 1.12 lakh students from Tamil Nadu who wrote NEET this year, and has started contacting them for psychological counselling. All of them will be covered within 10-15 days, Subramanian said, adding that counsellors will talk to them after obtaining their permission. He also pointed out that the toll-free helpline ‘104’ is available for those in need.

After obtaining the candidates’ contact numbers from the National Testing Agency (NTA), officials categorised the students district-wise, and shared their numbers with the district officials concerned, the minister said. As many as 333 counsellors from district war rooms, government medical colleges, and headquarters hospitals across the State will contact the students and speak to them for five minutes, he added.

In Chennai, 40 counsellors at the 104 helpline centre will assist students round the clock, and let them know that exams are not everything in life, and they can take the exam again, the minister said. Maximum students who appeared for NEET in Tamil Nadu were from Chennai.

Subramanian also spoke to three students over the helpline at the 104 centre on Wednesday. “Two of them said the exam was tough, and the other said they performed well,” the minister said. Meanwhile, officials at the 104 helpline centre said 30-40 per cent of students they spoke to on Wednesday expressed apprehensions over not performing well in the exam, and 30 per cent were afraid their parents would be unhappy with their performance.

What to do if someone says they’re suicidal?

  • Listen to them. Don’t criticise or brush aside their feelings
  • Remember that it could have taken a lot of effort for them to open up about their feelings
  • Just listening and being with them will go a long way in helping them feel cared for
  • Assure them that you are always available to talk to. You could also encourage them to talk to a suicide prevention helpline
  • Explore the possibility of and their willingness to get professional help

Source: Sneha Suicide Prevention Centre
Need help? Call the Tamil Nadu Health department helpline 104, Sneha 
helpline 044-24640050, or Prana helpline 1800-121-203040

‘Shattered’ Stalin urges students to stay strong as their lives are important
Chennai: Chief Minister MK Stalin on Wednesday made an emotional appeal to students not to worry about appearing for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET). He urged students to stay strong, and assured them that the govt would not give up its effort to exempt the State from NEET. His message came after three students in TN killed themselves in the past four days, allegedly due to the test. “I was shattered when I heard about the suicides. I am as pained as I was when Anitha died by suicide in 2017. The lives of students are very important for the nation too. I request everyone not to take such decisions and leave your parents suffering,” he said. “You can become a doctor. You can successfully execute what you think. Nothing is impossible for you. With that self-confidence, you all need to study. We are trying our best,” the CM added, and highlighted that the government has created a helpline — 104 — to provide counselling to students who wrote NEET


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