Exam times are stressful, and equally stressful are the days awaiting the results. With the exam season round the corner, anxiety levels would have shot up among the student community.

The mental state of parents and teachers would be no peaceful either.

Stepping in with aid is the district administration, health department and National Rural Health Mission by opening a 24-hour helpline ‘Vazhikaatti’, which will start functioning at District Hospital here from February 16.

The toll-free desk will provide counselling to the students in distress, as well as parents and teachers.

Speaking to reporters at a press meet here on Thursday, District Medical officer R. Ramesh said the helpline that would be functional on Saturday would continue its services till weeks after the results are announced.

Assessing the situation in previous years, extreme stress and suicidal tendencies were seen among children during the exam season and the days of the results.

It was to provide them a strong mental support during these days that the help desk was constituted, Dr. Ramesh said.

Counsellors from the NRHM, who were imparted expert training at Kozhikode Medical College, would cater to the callers in distress, while issues that deserve further attention would be provided additional service by psychologists.

The first-of-its-kind project initiated by any government department, a State wide extension of the project was also being contemplated, Dr. Ramesh said. The toll free number 1800-4256244 would be free for the caller while the recipient charges would be borne by the authorities.