A help-desk-cum-counselling system is on its way, to help children deal with various emotional issues.

All of us feel the blues on certain days. It could be due to various reasons. A fight with your sibling, scoldings from our parents or poor performance in an exam. Sometimes it could be emotional issues of a more serious nature that could even affect our performance at school.

Children often find it difficult to face and deal with these emotional issues. Most often it can be so bad, that they don't even want to discuss these problems with parents or teachers.

Helping to cope

To help students, especially girl students, cope with such issues, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in association with Kerala Mahila Samakhya Society is launching a help-desk-cum-counselling system in schools.

Titled ‘Thangu', the programme will emphasise equipping and providing orientation for class teachers to help students deal with these emotional and psychological problems that they face at schools or even at homes.

“We have found through studies that adolescents face problems at school and elsewhere, which they find difficult to discuss with their parents or immediate relatives. Most often these students have no clue about whom to approach or how to deal with these issues. Teachers can play an important role by providing a support system at their school itself, which is why this programme is focusing on equipping teachers,” an SSA official said.

The trained teachers will set up help desks at their schools where students can approach them for help.

Apart from this they can also access professional help through telephone. Teachers and students will be provided with the phone numbers of a 15-member panel of experts including counsellors, doctors and psychologists.

A 24-hour toll-free number for student counselling will also be set up at the State head office of Mahila Samakhya.

Training

More than 14, 700 class teachers from around 200 High Schools and 100 Upper Primary Schools in the State will be trained as part of the project. Class teachers from Stds V to VIII from these schools will be provided a 10-day training on child psychology, counselling techniques, life skills and strength-based pedagogy. The training programme includes a five-day face-to-face training camp followed by a five-day online training. The first phase of training for teachers from eight northern districts from the State will begin on November 2.

“We have already prepared the module and guidelines for the teachers' training programme. More than merely providing counselling, with this training teachers will also be able to encourage the creative talents of students by guiding them properly,” the official said. The State-level inauguration of the project is slated to be held on November 14.