Helpline received nearly 50 calls after HSC results were published

Santhiya (name changed) was totally dejected ever since results of Plus Two public examinations were published last week.

She had scored less than 600 marks, which forced her into depression and suicidal thoughts. She called a helpline and underwent psychological counselling before showing signs of becoming normal.

According to professional mental health counsellors in Madurai, the city has witnessed a notable increase in the number of students calling them in the last week. Psychiatrist Dheep of TOPKIDS, a centre for adolescent counselling, said on Sunday that the centre’s helpline received nearly 50 calls after the results were published. “Around 70 per cent of the calls were made by anxious parents who noticed that their children showed poor signs of eating and sleeping. The students were unsure of what to do next,” he said.

The experts helped the students by pointing at the wide range of options in higher education. “It is a great relief that students are open to taking up courses in arts and science colleges as well, in contrast to previous years when they vied only for professional courses. Not many students call us with suicidal thoughts, but they say they did not score the anticipated marks leading to depression,” Dr. Dheep said.

Janet Sankar, professor in Madurai Institute of Social Sciences, said she received at least 20 calls for assistance. “The students who called me generally had the irrational fear of not knowing what would happen. They were anxious about their future and career because of scoring lesser marks,” she said.

The anxiety springs from over-expectation of parents and schools, indicate the experts.

According to Ms. Sankar, the students constantly compare themselves with students who scored more, causing anxiety.

“In several cases, the students had unrealistic expectations and were disappointed on seeing their marks. In an attempt to motivate the students, the schools and parents impose over-expectations,” notes Dr. Dheep.

“The solution to the issue will be to organise proper orientation programmes to help them face conflicting situations. The Education Department should conduct such programmes well in advance,” says Ms. Sankar.

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